The former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried has been arrested in the Bahamas after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges. Authorities from the Bahamas received formal notification from the U.S. government that it had filed criminal charges against SBF and revealed that he would likely be extradited to the U.S. to face the proceedings.
The arrest marks the latest development of the crypto exchange’s collapse and the drama surrounding SBF’s apology tour. SBF has been on a media tour painting his side of events by denying any intentional foul play and laying the blame on Alameda’s leadership.
Fried was scheduled to testify in Congress about the collapse of FTX and the $8B dollar hole in its accounts. The hearing is still set to go ahead without Mr. Bankman-Fried’s testimony.
“The American public deserves to hear directly from Mr. Bankman-Fried about the actions that have harmed over one million people,” Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the committee, said in a statement. “The public has been waiting eagerly to get these answers under oath before Congress, and the timing of this arrest denies the public this opportunity.”
Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York confirmed that Mr. Bankman-Fried had been charged and said an indictment would be unsealed within the week.
The criminal charges against Mr. Bankman-Fried included wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering, according to a source for the New York Times.
Several people familiar with the investigation said the speed with which the authorities moved in filing criminal and civil charges indicated that prosecutors and regulators had received pivotal information from cooperating witnesses.
Alameda ex-CEO Caroline Ellison was allegedly spotted ordering at a New York coffee shop, according to photos circulating on Twitter. Some community members are surprised that Ellison is on U.S. soil, given the possible legal ramifications. In contrast, others have speculated that Ellison could be looking to cut a deal with authorities. The coffee shop is only a short walk away from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the New York FBI office, according to those familiar with the area.
At this stage, Fried remains the only person to be formally charged for the event that saw billions wiped off the market and thousands without access to their funds. It is unclear whether the federal authorities are looking at charging anyone else in connection with the collapse of FTX.
Separate from the indictment, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had also opened a probe, said Monday the regulator had authorized charges related to Bankman-Fried’s alleged violation of securities laws.
An SEC official said in a statement that the charges would be filed publicly in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday.