Fallen FTX mogul Sam Bankman-Fried appeared in court in the Bahamas Tuesday — as he signaled he plans to fight extradition to the US where he faces a slew of federal charges, including fraud and making illegal campaign contributions.
The 30-year-old accused crypto crook appeared relaxed and wearing a blue shirt at a heavily guarded court in the capital Nassau for his first in-person public appearance since the stunning collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange.
He quickly told the court he was not waiving his right to an extradition hearing.
“Mr. Bankman-Fried is reviewing the charges with his legal team and considering all of his legal options,” his lawyer, Mark S. Cohen, also said in a statement.
The hearing was then delayed over legal discussion on whether the well-connected Democratic donor could get bail, Eyewitness News Bahamas said.
Prosecutors maintained that the mogul once estimated to be worth $32 billion posed a clear flight risk, the local outlet said.
Chief magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt adjourned her decision until 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, telling the court she needed time to consider the arguments because “rushed justice is no justice at all,” the local station said.
Legal experts say Bankman-Fried faces long odds to avoid getting returned to the US, and Bahamian Attorney General Ryan Pinder had vowed to “promptly” extradite him to stand charges.
He faces up to 115 years in prison if convicted of eight charges, including wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations for his big-money political donations. He also faces separate charges from the SEC.
The hearing started some 17 hours after Bankman-Fried was busted at his exclusive resort on the island late Monday.
The fallen moneyman was supported by his parents, Stanford Law professors Joseph and Barbara, at the court that was circled by a ring of heavily armed police.
Bankman-Fried was smuggled into the court through a side door to avoid reporters who’d been assured he would be entering with others arriving with others from police HQ, Eyewitness News Bahamas said.
Instead, he was brought in a separate convoy with heavily armed SWAT officers, who remained on guard circling the building — and even inside to police entry to court No. 9, the local station said.
Even the magistrate hearing the case, Ferguson-Pratt, struggled to get in — complaining that she “had never seen such madness” at the court, the station said.
US authorities also said they will try to claw back any of Bankman-Fried’s financial gains from his alleged scheme.
With Post wires