FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas after charges were filed against him by U.S. authorities in response to a major scandal.
The former crypto billionaire and Democrat megadonor is being charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, along with standalone charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to the New York Times.
Speaking with NBC News regarding Bankman-Fried’s arrest, General Ryan Pinder of the Bahamian authorities noted that U.S. authorities will likely “request his extradition.”
Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis released a statement following the arrest, explaining that his government has a shared interest with the U.S. in bringing Bankman-Fried to justice.
“The Bahamas and the United States have a shared interest in holding accountable all individuals associated with FTX who may have betrayed the public trust and broken the law,” the prime minister said. “While the United States is pursuing criminal charges against SBF individually, The Bahamas will continue its own regulatory and criminal investigations into the collapse of FTX, with the continued cooperation of its law enforcement and regulatory partners in the United States and elsewhere.”
Many have been calling for Bankman-Fried’s arrest for some time now, as his alleged fraud has been in the news since early November. Since news broke, the FTX founder has been able to travel to the Bahamas and retain a high-powered lawyer — Mark S. Cohen, who was a member of a legal team that defended convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell — despite allegedly losing all of his money. The former crypto billionaire’s net worth is now reportedly $0 following the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange.
Some critics have even claimed that he had plenty of time to destroy evidence before finally being arrested.
Meanwhile, some Republicans are calling out the timing of Bankman-Fried’s arrest for another reason — he was set to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow, Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee. @HouseGOP was ready to grill him six ways to Sunday,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) tweeted. “Now breaking tonight, SBF was just arrested! Why not allow him to 1st testify tomorrow and answer our many questions?”
Tomorrow, Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee. @HouseGOP was ready to grill him six ways to Sunday.
Now breaking tonight, SBF was just arrested!🧐
Why not allow him to 1st testify tomorrow and answer our many questions?
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) December 13, 2022
Former prosecutor Abe Hamadeh, who ran for attorney general of Arizona as a Republican, noted in a tweet that the decision to arrest the FTX founder at this time didn’t “make much sense,” noting that he should have been allowed to testify in Congress first because “you want him to talk.”
“Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington tomorrow. Instead, the US District for the Southern District of New York arrested him in the Bahamas. As a former prosecutor, this doesn’t make much sense. You want him to talk,” Hamadeh tweeted.
Bankman-Fried has been replaced as CEO of FTX by John J. Ray III, who is scheduled to testify before Congress this week.
Ray released prepared remarks ahead of his testimony in which he stated that he has never seen “such an utter failure of corporate controls at every level of an organization, from the lack of financial statements to a complete failure of any internal controls or governance whatsoever.”
“Although our investigation is ongoing and detailed findings will have to await its conclusion, the FTX Group’s collapse appears to stem from the absolute concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls that are necessary for a company that is entrusted with other people’s money or assets,” his remarks continued.