The founder of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, was unexpectedly arrested in the Bahamas on Monday. This was announced by the attorney general in charge, Ryan Bender.
The statement said the move was taken because the United States has filed a criminal case against the 30-year-old and could demand his extradition. He was scheduled to testify before the US Congress on Tuesday, but will be calling from his new country, the Bahamas.
FTX was once the third largest crypto exchange, but it filed for bankruptcy in the US in mid-November. The Attorney General’s Office and the US Securities and Exchange Commission have launched investigations. There are allegations of forgery of billions.
Bankman-Fried admitted wrongdoing in an interview with Handelsblatt, but denied criminal responsibility for his company’s crash. “I never tried to cheat,” he insisted.
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The Bahamas’ Prime Minister Philip Davis said the Bahamas and the United States “have a common interest in holding accountable those who have abused the public trust and broken the law in connection with FTX.” Davis and Bankman-Fried attended a major cryptocurrency conference in the Bahamas organized by FTX at the end of April. The company had moved its headquarters to the Bahamas and wanted to build a new headquarters there for $60 million. Other crypto companies must also have settled in the tax haven.
At its peak, FTX was valued at $32 billion and attracted high-profile investors.
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