Police in the Bahamas have arrested former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, the country’s attorney general said on Monday, adding that the Bahamas has received formal notification from the United States of criminal charges against him.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan confirmed the cryptocurrency exchange founder had been arrested in the Bahamas but declined to comment on what the charges were.
“As a result of the notification received and the material provided therewith, it was deemed appropriate for the attorney general to seek [Bankman-Fried’s] arrest and hold him in custody pursuant to our nation’s extradition act,” the office of the Bahamas Attorney General Ryan Pinder said.
A lawyer for Bankman-Fried could not immediately be reached for comment.
Scheduled to testify
FTX filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection last month and Bankman-Fried resigned as the company’s CEO as investors rushed to pull billions of dollars out of the crypto exchange.
Bankman-Fried had been scheduled to testify remotely Tuesday at a U.S. House financial services committee hearing examining the company’s collapse.
In a series of interviews and public appearances in late November and December, Bankman-Fried acknowledged risk management failures but sought to distance himself from accusations of fraud, saying he never knowingly commingled customer funds on FTX with funds at his proprietary trading firm, Alameda Research.
On 12 December 2022, the Office of the Attorney General of The Bahamas is announcing the arrest by The Royal Bahamas Police Force of Sam Bankman-Fried (“SBF”), former CEO of FTX. <a href=”https://t.co/CRNeLPAbVp”>pic.twitter.com/CRNeLPAbVp</a>
“I didn’t ever try to commit fraud,” Bankman-Fried said in a Nov. 30 interview at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit, adding he doesn’t personally think he has any criminal liability.
FTX, which had been among the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11 in one of the highest-profile crypto blowups after traders pulled $6 billion US from the platform in three days and rival exchange Binance abandoned a rescue deal.
The liquidity crunch came after Bankman-Fried secretly moved $10 billion of FTX customer funds to Alameda, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. At least $1 billion in customer funds had vanished, the people said.