Prosecutors say he also carried out money laundering, violated campaign finance laws and committed wire fraud
Disgraced cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried was hit with multiple criminal charges Tuesday, accused of committing one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history.
The 30-year-old founder of the FTX platform, who was arrested in the Bahamas Monday at the request of the United States, is facing a raft of accusations, including from U.S. market regulators who say that the investor knowingly built a fraudulent house of cards.
A Bahamian judge denied Bankman-Fried bail and remanded him into custody as the one-time high-flier began to battle his extradition in a Nassau court room, with his parents looking on. A new Bahamas court date to examine the U.S. request for extradition was set for February 8, local media reported.
Given the seriousness of the accusations, legal analysts said that Bankman-Fried risked as much as life in prison, recalling the fate of financier Bernie Madoff who died in a U.S. prison last year after running the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.
In their indictment, U.S. prosecutors said Bankman-Fried also carried out money laundering, violated campaign finance laws and committed wire fraud since the start of his company in 2019.
“It’s hard to compare these things, but this is one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams when asked to compare the case to the Madoff affair.
Bankman-Fried “was orchestrating a massive, years-long fraud, diverting billions of dollars of the trading platform’s customer funds for his own personal benefit and to help grow his crypto empire,” prosecutors said.