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On Monday, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder of the failed FTX cryptocurrency exchange, was arrested in the Bahamas. The Bahamian government said in a press release that SBF’s arrest “followed receipt of formal notice from the United States that it has filed criminal charges” against Bankman-Fried and that it will most likely seek to extradite him to the United States .
SBF has been investigated by the Justice Department in connection with the collapse and bankruptcy of FTX, its cryptocurrency company that was once worth $32 billion.
The New York Times reports that prosecutors for the Southern District of New York have confirmed the allegations. Prosecutors also said we can expect an indictment on Tuesday. According to the NYT sources, SBF is facing a laundry list of charges, including wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and money laundering.
If this is true, then I was not a member of that inner circle
(I’m pretty sure it’s just untrue; I’ve never heard of such a group)
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) December 12, 2022
News of SBF’s arrest came shortly after he took to Twitter to respond to a report By the Australian financial statement that a group connected to FTX’s leadership created a Signal chat group called “Wirefraud,” which they used to exchange confidential information about the company’s activities prior to the implosion. “If this is true then I wasn’t a member of that inner circle,” Bankman-Fried tweeted on an account linking to the AFR article, adding: “(I’m pretty sure it’s just false; I never seen such a group).”
The Time quoted Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, as saying in a statement that “Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. government, on a sealed indictment,” and that his office expects ” those are going to unseal the indictment tomorrow morning and will have more to say by then.
FTX’s downfall began after a flurry of withdrawal requests in early November revealed an $8 billion hole in the company’s accounts. SBF asked for help from the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, and it initially looked like Binance would go ahead — but when the larger exchange scrutinized FTX’s financial situation, the deal fell through.
Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify remotely before the House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. It’s safe to say the hearing will likely be postponed.