Sam Bankman-Fried: Former FTX CEO arrested in the Bahamas

Former chief executive of failed crypto firm FTX arrested at request of US authorities

Sam Bankman-Fried, former chief executive of the failed FTX. AFP
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Authorities in the Bahamas have arrested Sam Bankman-Fried, the former chief executive of collapsed cryptocurrency company FTX, the US attorney's office in New York said late on Monday.

“Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the US Government, based on a sealed indictment filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York," US Attorney Damian Williams said.

"We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.”

Mr Bankman-Fried is under criminal investigation by US and Bahamian authorities after the collapse last month of FTX.

Bahamas-based FTX and more than 100 related entities, including the company’s US arm, filed for bankruptcy in November, sending shockwaves across the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The arrest came a day before Mr Bankman-Fried was due to testify before the House financial services committee in Washington, along with the company's current chief executive, John Ray III.

Mr Bankman-Fried, 30, said recently that he did not "knowingly" misuse customers' funds, and he believed his millions of angry customers would eventually be made whole.

At the centre of the investigations are questions about whether the firm mishandled customer funds by lending them out to the trading platform’s sister company, Alameda Research, to shore up risky investments.

His sudden fall from grace and arrest has stunned investors and crypto enthusiasts, who once hailed the American as the saviour of the industry.

Mr Bankman-Fried amassed billions of dollars in personal wealth running FTX, one of the world's largest crypto exchanges, which was valued this year at $32 billion.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Updated: December 13, 2022, 5:54 AM