Bankman-Fried sent back to Bahamian jail after catching lawyer off-guard with US extradition plan

After hitting an abrupt and confusing snag in a Bahamas courtroom, Sam Bankman-Fried’s preparations to be extradited to the US appear back on track.
FTX co-founder Bankman-Fried said in court on Monday that he was ready to waive his right to fight extradition to the US where he faces fraud charges over the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. However, his local lawyer, Jerone Roberts, said in the same hearing that he wasn’t aware of the plan.
Ultimately, the proceedings were adjourned, and Bankman-Fried was ordered to return to jail. Later in the day, Roberts told local media that Bankman-Fried wouldn’t fight extradition and could be back in court again this week. Attempts to reach Roberts were unsuccessful.
The chaotic scene is the latest twist in the high-stakes drama that has been playing out since Bankman-Fried was arrested last week at the request of US authorities.
Although he initially said that he would fight extradition, Bankman-Fried has more recently indicated in private conversations that he was preparing to return to the US as soon as Monday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Bankman-Fried’s change in attitude is in part tied to the expectation that he’ll be able to get bail in the US, according to the person, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Former federal prosecutor Tim Howard said a US bail deal for Bankman-Fried is definitely a possibility. Willingly returning to the US would help calm fears that he’s a flight risk, though he’d still have other conditions to meet.
“If the defendant was to offer a substantial bail package secured by cash, home detention and location monitoring, I could see a situation where prosecutors would agree to that,” he said.
Representatives for Bankman-Fried and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which has been handling the case, declined to comment on Monday.
Bankman-Fried wore a blue suit and a white shirt to Monday’s proceedings, which played out in a courtroom packed with about 20 people, including several who appeared to work for the US government and members of the press. There was confusion from the start as Roberts asked for clarification on the purpose of the hearing, and said he was “shocked” to find out that his client was in court.
“Whatever trail got him here this morning, it did not involve me,” said Roberts. “I am not at the front of what is ...
19 Dec 2022 10PM English South Africa Business News · Business

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