Just over a month after the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, the platform's founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been arrested in the Bahamas. Just after 6 p.m. on December 12, Bahamian authorities took Bankman-Fried into custody on charges filed by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.
"S.B.F.'s arrest followed receipt of formal notification from the United States that it has filed criminal charges against S.B.F. and is likely to request his extradition," the Bahamian government said in a statement.
Bankman-Fried is facing eight charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and violate campaign finance laws, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit securities and commodities fraud, wire fraud on lenders and customers, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud on lenders and customers.
Countless regulators and government officials are pursuing cases against Bankman-Fried, and more criminal and civil charges could come in the future.
The extradition process for Bankman-Fried could take several weeks, especially if the disgraced former-billionaire contests the order. The New York Times reports that Bankman-Fried was cooperative during his arrest, but he has denied ever knowingly committing fraud.
Prior to his arrest, Bankman-Fried had been scheduled to speak before the House Financial Services Committee on Dec. 13, leading many to speculate about his sudden detainment.
"The American public deserves to hear directly from Mr. Bankman-Fried about the actions that've harmed over one million people," committee chair Representative Maxine Waters said in a statement. "The public has been waiting eagerly to get these answers under oath before Congress, and the timing of this arrest denies the public this opportunity."
Charges against Bankman-Fried were always expected, but establishing a clear understanding of events in white-collar fraud cases like these often takes months. Inside sources say that the speed of the arrest is a sign that prosecutors must be working with cooperating witnesses, according to the Times.
No other individuals were named in the indictment against Bankman-Fried, and it's currently unclear whether or not anyone else will face charges. Following FTX's implosion, Bankman-Fried made the unusual choice of going on a sort of interview circuit, during which he told reporters that the incident was caused by "huge management failures", not intent to commit fraud.
Bankman-Fried has been replaced as FTX's CEO by John Ray, the same corporate turnaround expert who took over Enron following its collapse. Ray wrote in a prepared statement for the House committee that FTX's failure was the result of "the absolute concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals."