Cleare says SBF in ‘good spirits’ at prison

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, is “in good spirits” after spending his first night at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS), Acting Commissioner of Corrections Doan Cleare said yesterday.

Chief Magistrate JoyAnn Ferguson-Pratt, who, on Tuesday, denied bail for Bankman-Fried, described him as a “flight risk” and remanded him to BDOCS until February 8, 2023. 

He is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Shaka Serville at that time.

While BDOCS has been described both locally and by international news organizations such as Daily Mail, Fox Business and New York Post as “harsh, overcrowded [and] rat-infested”, citing a 2021 report by the United States (US) State Department, Cleare said Bankman-Fried is being housed in the prison’s infirmary.

“Mr. Fried is housed in [the] Maximum Security Housing Unit in [the] sick bay,” said Cleare.

“He is getting his medication on time. Only in-person lawyer visits [are permitted] at this time, along with personnel from the American Embassy. All others will be via video conferencing. He is with five other inmates in a dorm-style setting.

“He is in good spirits.”

The 30-year-old former CEO of FTX, appeared in the magistrate’s court on Tuesday after he was arrested on Monday night on a provisional warrant. The United States is seeking his extradition.

In an indictment unsealed yesterday, prosecutors for the Southern District of New York allege that Bankman-Fried conspired with others to commit wire fraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.

Jerone Roberts, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, in an application for bail, noted that Bankman-Fried is vegan, suffers from depression and insomnia, and has had attention deficit disorder (ADD) for over a decade. 

Roberts added that Bankman-Fried uses Emsam, a patch that must be replaced daily, which treats major depressive disorder; takes 10 milligrams of Zyrtec, an allergy pill, every day; and takes 10 milligrams of Adderall for his ADD every four hours.

While it is unclear exactly how long Bankman-Fried is expected to remain in the prison’s infirmary, or if he is on suicide watch, he is prepared to fight extradition to the US. 

The former CEO, who was at one point worth $16 billion, and had been living in a penthouse in the southwestern gated community of Albany, donated $500,000 to local charities earlier this year, supporting his practice of effective altruism, where he aimed to donate all the money he earned to charities.

FTX has more than $8 billion in customer losses.

During a tour of BDOCS late last month, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe said the government hopes to start construction on a new facility by January 15, 2023.

Cleare also noted that the prison is no longer infested with rodents.

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