Sam Bankman-Fried Can Contest Extra DOJ Charges, Bahamas Supreme Court Says

The FTX founder pleaded not guilty to fraud in the U.S. after being extradited from the Caribbean country.

AccessTimeIconJun 14, 2023 at 7:24 a.m. UTC
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Additional charges levied against Sam Bankman-Fried in the U.S. face an extra delay, after a Tuesday Bahamas Supreme Court judgment allowed the FTX founder to judicially review the terms of his extradition from the Caribbean.

Bankman-Fried has been under the legal spotlight after the collapse of his crypto exchange in November. After originally seeking his extradition based on charges of wire fraud and money laundering, U.S. prosecutors have subsequently asked for more charges to be added including bank fraud and bribery.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has moved to dismiss many of them – in particular arguing that he should have the right to mount a legal challenge before the Bahamas agrees to add extras to the charge sheet.

“Leave is granted to the claimant to commence proceedings for judicial review,” Bahamas Supreme Court Judge Loren Klein said on Tuesday. Klein's comments favor Bankman-Fried's bid to contest the position taken by the Bahamas minister and Attorney General. “All of the grounds advanced by the claimants disclose arguable claims with a real prospect of success.”

Klein said that the Bahamas government cannot add the additional offenses until that legal process has finished. The Bahamas government had previously argued the issue of consenting to the U.S. request was a mere matter between sovereign states. Klein also added that the review should take place “in an expedited manner,” though said he didn’t want to pre-empt its findings.

A subsequent Tuesday filing, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen said he “intends to file an application for judicial review as directed by the Supreme Court and to continue pursuing his legal rights in The Bahamas.”

Cohen has previously warned that legal measures in the Bahamas could take “months or years,” pushing them beyond the planned October U.S. trial date, or meaning he doesn’t have enough time to prepare a defense to the extra charges.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

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