SBF renews bid for bail

New hearing expected Jan. 17

Lawyers for disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried have filed an application for bail in the Supreme Court, The Nassau Guardian can confirm. 

The hearing date is set for January 17, 2023, more than a month away.

The Office of the Attorney General was served with notice of the application yesterday.

Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, is currently on remand at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services. He is fighting extradition to the United States.

Acting Commissioner of Corrections Doan Cleare said SBF was in good spirits on Tuesday night.

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

“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.”

Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt told Bankman-Fried in court on Tuesday that “the risk of flight is so great” that he ought to be remanded into custody.

She said any conditions that she could set for bail “cannot satisfy the risk of Bankman-Fried’s flight”.

“So in coming to my decision, I am not satisfied that there are any conditions I can place on Bankman-Fried to sufficiently satisfy me because of his access to substantial finances that he would not or could not abscond,” Ferguson-Pratt said.

He is on remand until February 8, 2023.

The former CEO of FTX, which was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges that relocated its headquarters to The Bahamas last year, appeared in court on Tuesday after he was arrested on Monday night on a provisional warrant.

In an indictment unsealed on Tuesday morning, 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.

The indictment alleges that from at least in or about 2019, up to and including in or about November 2022, in the Southern District of New York, and elsewhere, SBF and others known and unknown, “willfully and knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to commit wire fraud”.

Prosecutors allege that SBF agreed with others to defraud customers of by misappropriating those customers’ deposits and using those deposits to pay expenses and debts of Alameda Research, his proprietary crypto hedge fund, and to make investments.

It is further alleged that Bankman-Fried agreed with others to defraud lenders to Alameda Research “by providing false and misleading information to those lenders regarding Alameda Research’s financial condition”.

SBF and conspirators are also accused of wire fraud on lenders.

FTX was formed in 2019 and moved to The Bahamas last year. Federal prosecutors in the US allege that Bankman-Fried’s fraud stretched back to the very beginning of his company’s formation.

They allege that he used his customer’s money, billions of dollars, to pay for a lavish lifestyle, fund political activities and buy millions of dollars worth of real estate. FTX bought an estimated $300 million worth of real estate in The Bahamas.

“This is one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” US Attorney Damian Williams said on Tuesday.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the news editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to news editor in January 2023.

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