Bankman-Fried was arrested on request from the US government after prosecutors filed criminal charges against him. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is also set to file separate civil charges.
The former CEO’s lawyers had asked that he be released on a $250,000 bail, citing the need for him to keep to his vegan diet and take medications including over-the-counter allergy drug Zyrtec. However, the judge ruled against bail in order to adhere to a treaty with the US which requires defendants to be held in custody pending extradition proceedings.
Bankman-Fried was arrested on Monday evening after the Royal Bahamas Police Force received “formal notification” from the US government that it had filed criminal charges against him and was likely to request his extradition. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, confirmed the arrest on Twitter and said an indictment would be unsealed on Tuesday morning.
The arrest and criminal charges indicate that US authorities plan to pursue Bankman-Fried personally following the catastrophic collapse of FTX last month. The failure of the Bahamas-based exchange, once valued at $32bn, has resulted in potential losses for millions of creditors, including retail investors, and sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency industry.
A hearing on the extradition effort has been scheduled for 8 February 2023. In the meantime, the Bahamian authorities will continue their own regulatory and criminal investigations into the collapse of FTX.