Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team is discussing with federal prosecutors a deal that could allow the disgraced cryptocurrency tycoon to be released on bail if he is extradited to the United States, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Terms of the deal remain uncertain and any agreement would need to be approved by the federal judge overseeing Mr. Bankman-Fried’s case, the people said. But under terms already discussed, the founder of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX could be released on bail under very strict conditions, including home detention, two of the people said. Electronic surveillance is also under discussion, one of the people said. It was not immediately clear what other steps might be needed.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged Mr. Bankman-Fried, 30, with fraud, accusing him of orchestrating a years-long scheme that ultimately led to FTX’s bankruptcy. The company is based in the Bahamas, where Mr. Bankman-Fried is currently being held awaiting extradition to the United States.
A spokesman for the Southern District of New York declined to comment on any bail discussions. Mark Cohen, a New York-based attorney for Mr. Bankman-Fried, did not respond to a request for comment.
fox news earlier reported Some details of the bail discussion.
The charges against Mr. Bankman-Fried end a saga in which one of the world’s most powerful cryptocurrency billionaires went from industry mogul to accused fraudster and watched himself property was wiped out. Before FTX collapsed, Mr. Bankman-Fried was a frequent presence on the halls of Congress, where he pushed legislation to make the U.S. more crypto-friendly. The fall of FTX cast a dark eye over the crypto industry, and it has been cited as a cautionary case study.
What to Know About the FTX Crash
Extradition proceedings for Mr Bankman-Fried to the United States are expected to take place on Wednesday. One has already been put on hold this week after a chaotic hearing in the Bahamas, where local lawyers representing him doubted his client would agree to extradition. Lawyer Jerone Roberts later reneged, paving the way for Mr Bankman-Fried to be transferred to New York.
Mr. Bankman-Fried was refused bail in the Bahamas last week after he was arrested at his luxury apartment complex on New Providence Island. At a hearing on Dec. 13, a judge in the Bahamas said Mr. Bankman-Fried’s financial means made him a flight risk.
Upon arrival in the United States, Mr. Bankman-Fried will be arraigned in federal district court in Manhattan, where his case will be overseen by Judge Ronnie Abrams. Authorities accused him of embezzling billions in FTX deposits and defrauding customers, investors, and lenders in the process.
Mr Bankman-Fried would not be the first defendant from extreme wealth to be prosecuted in the Southern District Court, or the first to try to negotiate to avoid a prison sentence awaiting trial. Some have succeeded; others have not.
Notorious Ponzi schemer Bernard L. Madoff was released on a $10 million bond and was held under house arrest in his penthouse until his 2009 plea. He died in prison last year at the age of 82 after serving a 150-year sentence.
Consequences of FTX’s downfall
The sudden collapse of cryptocurrency exchanges has shocked the industry.
In 2016, Reza Zarrab, a Turkish gold dealer charged in the Iran sanctions case, offered $10 million in cash as collateral, put up a $50 million bond, stayed in a rental apartment and wore a GPS monitoring device. He also offered to pay for a 24-hour guard to make sure he didn’t run away.
But Judge Richard M. Berman denied bail, saying the proposal was “unreasonable because it promotes unfair and unequal treatment in favor of a very small number of extremely wealthy criminal defendants, such as Mr. Zarrab. .”