Samuel Bankman-Fried, wanted in the United States for fraud after the collapse of his FTX group, returned to a Bahama prison Monday after a hearing that had been expected to focus on his possible extradition.
One week after Bankman-Fried was arrested in Nassau, local media said the hearing was ended shortly after it began amid confusion of why it was called.
US and local media had reported that the 30-year-old onetime cryptocurrency wunderkind was preparing to accept extradition to the United States in the wake of his arrest last week.
READ ALSO: US Charges Crypto Tycoon Bankman-Fried With ‘Massive’ Fraud
Bankman-Fried could be seen arriving at the Nassau magistrate courthouse from the Fox Hill prison, and then leaving nearly three hours later without comment from him or his attorneys.
According to the Nassau Guardian, the magistrate, Shaka Serville, permitted Bankman-Fried to speak by phone with his US attorneys before sending him back to the prison.
If he maintains his right to fight extradition, he is scheduled to appear for a hearing on the issue in early February.
Last week the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed criminal and civil charges against Bankman-Fried, alleging that he cheated investors in FTX and misused funds that belonged to FTX customers.
FTX’s spectacular rise from 2019 to become a leading player in the virtual currency industry based in the Bahamas ended dramatically in November when the company and its sister trading firm Alameda Research collapsed into insolvency.
After reaching a valuation of $32 billion, the group imploded following a November 2 media report that Alameda’s balance sheet was heavily built on the FTT currency — a token created by FTX with no independent value — and exposed Bankman-Fried’s companies as being dangerously interlinked.
Bankman-Fried was arrested at his Nassau apartment on December 12 at the request of federal prosecutors in New York.
He was charged in the United States with eight counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and election finance violations.
Separately the SEC accused him of violating securities laws.
Bankman-Fried “was orchestrating a massive, years-long fraud, diverting billions of dollars of the trading platform’s customer funds for his own personal benefit and to help grow his crypto empire,” US prosecutors said.