Sam Bankman-Fried may not be giving more interviews for a while. The disgraced founder of crypto exchange FTX and investment firm Alameda Research was arrested by authorities in the Bahamas late Monday, just hours after speaking with Forbes.
“Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. Government,” said Damian Williams with the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, in a statement.
Williams said that the office intends to move to unseal an indictment of SBF Tuesday morning.
In its own statement the Royal Bahamian Police Force it made the arrest following the “receipt of formal notification from the United States that it has filed criminal charges against SBF and is likely to request his extradition.”
The arrest comes literally just a few hours after the former 30-year-old crypto wunderkind spoke to Forbes Digital Assets Director of Research Steven Ehrlich from the Bahamas for a full hour.
Ever since FTX filed for bankruptcy last month following suggestions of mismanagement, a liquidity crisis and the apparent disappearance of billions in customer funds, SBF has spent most of his time talking.
In addition to giving interviews to Forbes and other major outlets like the New York Times, New York Magazine and others, he has also sat for blistering questioning on Twitter Spaces and appeared on a handful of crypto podcasts.
And yet, SBF has been hesitant to respond to requests from Congress to appear and testify about the collapse of his exchange, which was the second largest crypto trading platform in the world by some measures.
After some cajoling from Rep. Maxine Waters, Bankman-Fried appeared ready to testify before a House committee on Tuesday, but now he may find it difficult to appear after all.
SBF’s decision to spend most of his waking hours apologizing to anyone who would listen over the past month has been an unorthodox strategy to say the least.
The approach matches the lackadaisical way that Bankman-Fried is reported to have run FTX, with minimal regard for even the most basic financial controls.
The simple interpretation is that SBF is simply continuing the aw shucks, seat-of-the-pants approach to management that seemingly enabled him to build a $30 billion empire off charm while secretly running an incompetent skeletal operation out of view in the Bahamas during a global pandemic.
But the cynic might see something more sinister and calculated in SBF repeatedly insisting that he made mistakes and didn’t fully understand what was happening on his watch. The calculation seems to be that pleading ignorance, negligence or incompetence might meet with a lighter sentence than premeditated fraud, as some suspect.
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