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Sam Bankman-Fried has appeared in a court hearing in the Bahamas on Tuesday, after he was arrested at the request of the US Government, based on a sealed indictment filed by the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
The former FTX CEO is facing an extradition order from the US on federal charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, and other allegations.
According to a Coindesk reporter who was present at the hearing, SBF’s attorney reportedly asked the judge if his client could take a prescription medication before the hearing commenced. The judge granted the request, and asked if SBF needed water.
However SBF’s medication turned out to be Emsam patches, an antidepressant which has to be directly applied onto one’s skin.
“I don’t need water but I do need to take my shirt off to take them,” Bankman-Fried said.
“Well, you certainly can’t take your shirt off in court,” the judge replied, before allowing Bankman-Fried to leave the courtroom to apply his medication. According to Coindesk, Bankman-Fried, who was “jittery” before taking his medication, was no longer jittery upon his return.
Bankman-Fried’s parents, Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried, were also present at the hearing, and apparently exhibited some peculiar behaviour. For example, Barbara Fried was heard laughing when her son was referred to as “fugitive”, while Joe Bankman kept putting his fingers in his ears, presumably a futile attempt to drown out the serious allegations being directed at his son.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyer also requested that their client be allowed to post a cash bail, because his client was not a flight risk due to Bankman-Fried having lived in the Bahamas for “many years” and owning “real property” on the island.
Naturally, prosecutors argued that the extradition treaty with the US required the defendant to be held in custody.
“On a good day, I don’t drink. Ask anybody. But yesterday, I was sure gonna drink,” said the Judge, who said that she had been considering whether to grant Bankman-Fried bail ever since signing the warrant for his arrest.
While Bankman-Fried’s lawyer attempted to allay fears of his client’s potential escape by suggesting that the flight risk can be mitigated by a “electronic monitoring systems” and a large cash bail, the judge remained unconvinced, and said that she had previously handled cases where the defendant just escaped.
“The creole expression is ‘allez’,” the judge said. “They never came back.”
With much of crypto’s recent runaways still at large, we definitely agree with the judge.
According to videos circulating online, Bankman-Fried was escorted from the court room with a SWAT convoy. Probably not an overkill considering how much money investors have lost from the FTX debacle.