Sam Bankman-Fried, former FTX CEO, has reportedly reconsidered his earlier decision to contest extradition and is expected to appear in court in the Bahamas on Dec. 19 to seek a reversal, Reuters reported on Dec. 17 citing a person familiar with the matter.
By consenting to extradition, Bankman-Fried would be able to appear in a United States court. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on customers and lenders, securities fraud, commodities fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate the campaign finance law.
The move follows the Bankman-Fried’s bail denial on Dec. 13 due to the “risk of flight”. The former CEO’s lawyers argued that SBF does not possess a criminal record and was suffering from depression and insomnia. A second application for bail was reportedly filed in the Bahamas Supreme Court on Dec. 15.
If convicted, Bankman-Fried could get 115 years in jail. However, there is a “lot to play out” in the case until he gets a final sentence within the next few months or even years, legal commentators told Cointelegraph.
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A former federal prosecutor, Mark Cohen, has been hired by the former FTX CEO to act as his defense attorney. As reported by Cointelegraph, Cohen is the co-founder of the law firm Cohen & Gresser, and was a member of the defense team in Ghislaine Maxwell’s high-profile child trafficking case.
Bankman-Fried is being held in Fox Hill Prison, the only prison in the Bahamas. According to a US State Department report released in 2021, Fox Hill conditions were “harsh” and overcrowded, with poor sanitation and nutrition. Detainees were alleged to have been physically abused by correctional officers.
Ex-CEO of Alameda Research, a sister company of FTX, Caroline Ellison, has also formed a defense team. Stephanie Avakian, a former top crypto regulator with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will represent Ellison in an ongoing federal probe. Avakain is currently chair of the Securities and Financial Services at the law firm WilmerHale. In her role at the SEC, she expanded cryptocurrency oversight at the Enforcement Division.