FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried agrees to be extradited

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former boss of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has agreed to be extradited to the US to face charges, the BBC understands.

The 30-year-old, who lives in the Bahamas, has been accused of committing “one of the biggest financial frauds in US history”, US authorities have said.

A source close to Mr Bankman-Fried, who denies the allegations, told the BBC he had agreed to be extradited.

FTX has filed for bankruptcy, leaving many people unable to withdraw funds.

According to a court filing, FTX owed its 50 largest creditors almost $3.1bn (£2.5bn).

It is not clear when Mr Bankman-Fried will be extradited to the US, following his arrest on 12 December. A court hearing in the Bahamas is scheduled for Wednesday that could set the stage for his extradition to the US, Reuters reported.

 

Among the most serious allegations against him is that he used billions of dollars of customer funds to prop up his investment trading company Alameda.

Last week, Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Mr Bankman-Fried was accused one of the largest frauds in US history.

The FTX founder was also accused of using “tens of millions” in ill-gotten gains for illegal campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans alike, Mr Williams said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said the man who was formerly nicknamed the “King Of Crypto” had built a “house of cards on a foundation of deception”.

However, Mr Bankman-Fried has sought to distance himself from accusations of illegal activity and in a BBC News interview before his arrest said: “I didn’t knowingly commit fraud. I don’t think I committed fraud. I didn’t want any of this to happen. I was certainly not nearly as competent as I thought I was.”

Mr Bankman-Fried has also denied allegations he must have been aware that Alameda Research was using FTX customer funds.

 

The FTX exchange allowed customers to trade normal money for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrencies are not traditional currencies, but are stored online and act more like investment vehicles or securities – often with a high degree of volatility.

FTX had an estimated 1.2 million registered users who were using the exchange, but many have been left wondering if they will ever get back their cash trapped in FTX’s digital wallets.

Mr Bankman-Fried was once viewed as a young version of legendary US investor Warren Buffett, and as recently as late October had a net worth estimated at more than $15bn.

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