Days after being detained in the Bahamas’ Fox Hill prison, the disgraced crypto mogul seems to have reconsidered his stance on extradition to the US. Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team is expected to waive its earlier notice in the Bahamian court today, Reuters reported on December 17.
Former FTX CEO has been formally indicted on charges of wire and securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, and money laundering. Additionally, he has been separately charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with defrauding U.S. investors and concealing the diversion of customers’ funds.
"We allege that Sam Bankman-Fried built a house of cards on a foundation of deception while telling investors that it was one of the safest buildings in crypto," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement.
"FTX operated behind a veneer of legitimacy Mr. Bankman-Fried created by, among other things, touting its best-in-class controls, including a proprietary ‘risk engine,’ and FTX’s adherence to specific investor protection principles and detailed terms of service. But as we allege in our complaint, that veneer wasn’t just thin, it was fraudulent," said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
According to the 2021 report by the U.S. State Department, the conditions at Fox Hill, the only prison in the Bahamas, are harsh due to "overcrowding, poor nutrition, inadequate sanitation, and inadequate medical care." The cells were reported to be infested with rodents, insects, and maggots, although authorities claim that conditions have since improved.
So far, Sam Bankman-Fried has remained in Fox Hill’s sick bay of the maximum security block for medical evaluation. Bahamas Department of Correctional Services acting Commissioner of Corrections Doan Cleare told Eyewitness News that 30-year-old FTX co-founder “seemed to be in good spirits.”
Cleare stressed that Bankman-Fried does not receive any special treatment, but said that his facility can accommodate SBF’s vegan diet since there are other vegetarian inmates held at Fox Hill.
“We do our best to acquire the various food that is necessary for a vegan diet. Now in this case he is under severe strict diet so once the doctor tells me what to do. Only the prison doctor can determine a dietary plan for an inmate at this time because we don’t have a dietician. So once the doctor tells us what diet any inmate ought to have, we do our best to accommodate that request,” Commissioner said, adding that they will likely reach out to SBF’s family so they can deliver vegan meals to him.
Although it's unclear what prompted Bankman-Fried to reconsider his earlier decision to fight extradition, some experts speculate that it might have been his bail application being denied due to the “risk of flight” and “access to substantial finances.” In a document filed to the court, SBF’s legal team argued that he was suffering from depression, insomnia, and Attention Deficit Disorder and takes two prescribed medications.
“It would be tough for SBF to withstand that for any period of time,” Bruce Zagaris, a Washington, D.C., lawyer, told Los Angeles Times. “He won’t get any special treatment from the inmates and the guards, like he did at the Albany condominium. Eventually, he’s going to say, ‘I don’t want to spend another few years at this place. What are my alternatives?’”