Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been denied bail, and will be serving time in the maximum security wing in Bahamian prison for at least 3 months. SBF has been in the spotlight over the last month since the exchange’s collapse and bankruptcy – with more recent developments shining light on his active involvement in orchestrating a long-term fraud to divert billions of dollars of customer funds from the exchange for personal use and undisclosed trading. Post his recent arrest, SBF had been in custody under Bahamian authorities, and planned to fight extradition to the US, expecting to be released against a cash bail of $250,000 and an ankle monitor.

The scene changed at his last hearing, where the judge denied the bail, and sentenced him to custody at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services facility, commonly known as Fox Hill, where he will remain till his next extradition hearing in February 2023. Fox Hill’s widespread reputation for overcrowding, poor nutrition, inadequate sanitation and substandard medical care – with reports of at and maggot infestation as well as tiny cells with only buckets for toilets – has prompted prosecutors and lawyers to predict that his decision to fight extradition will change in this time period.

Washington lawyer Bruce Zagaris said, “it would be tough for SBF to withstand that for any period of time. He won’t get any special treatment from the inmates and the guards, like he did at the Albany condominium. Eventually, he’s going to say ‘I don’t want to spend another few years at this place, what are my alternatives?’”

Running his operations out of his lavish penthouse in Nassau’s Albany community, SBF has been sought after by multiple US law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Securities Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Post his latest trial on Tuesday, he currently faces charges that include two counts of wire fraud, two of fraud conspiracy, one of money-laundering, as well as charges for conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and securities fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the US and commit campaign finance violations. The last charge is tied to SBF’s 2022 political donations, worth approximately $46.5 million, with a vast majority of it going to Democratic candidates, and several donations in earlier years. The sum total of maximum sentences for all the charges faced by SBF as of now, may get him up to 115 years of imprisonment, though a majority of the prosecutors and legal professionals involved commented that white-collar cases very rarely get the maximum sentence.

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