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FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried arrested in Bahamas

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the collapsed FTX crypto exchange, was arrested in the Bahamas and could be extradited to the US, where he faces criminal charges.

The police in the Bahamas have arrested Bankman-Fried after receiving a formal note from the US, the country's attorney general has said. Washington has formally notified the Bahamas it had pressed criminal charges against the American entrepreneur and is likely to seek his extradition.

Following Bankman-Fried's detention, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had charged him with defrauding investors in what it called "a house of cards on a foundation of deception."

The Bahamian attorney general's office said it deemed it appropriate to pursue Bankman-Fried's arrest, given the formal notification and the material provided by the US. It said it acted according to the country's Extradition Act and its treaty obligations with the US.

Once the US makes a formal extradition request, the Bahamas will process it "promptly," the country's authorities said.

"The Bahamas and the United States have a shared interest in holding accountable all individuals associated with FTX who may have betrayed the public trust and broken the law," Bahamian Prime Minister Phillip Davis said in a statement.

He added: "While the United States is pursuing criminal charges against SBF individually, the Bahamas will continue its own regulatory and criminal investigations into the collapse of FTX, with the continued cooperation of its law enforcement and regulatory partners in the United States and elsewhere."

Bankman-Fried appeared in a magistrates' court in the Bahamian capital of Nassau on Tuesday (13 December), where the judge denied his request to be released on bail due to a "great" risk of flight. The former crypto boss was ordered to be kept at a correctional facility until 8 February.

It was Bankman-Fried's first in-person appearance since the bankruptcy of FTX in November. According to court documents, FTX owed its 50 largest creditors more than $3 billion. Bankman-Fried also faces allegations he used investor money to bankroll his own trading company, Alameda Research. According to court documents, FTX owed its 50 largest creditors more than $3 billion.

Bankman-Fried acknowledged mistakes were made but denied he was aware of illegal activities. In an interview with the BBC earlier this month, he also said he hoped to pay people back – which experts say is unlikely to happen.

The high-profile collapse of FTX, once deemed the world's "most regulated" crypto exchange, has put trust and reliability issues of the global cryptocurrency industry in focus.

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