Bahamian court orders review of US charges filed after SBF’s extradition
SBF's defense argues that the charges of bribery and illegal political donations should be dropped as they weren't part of his extradition agreement.
Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) won a small victory in a Bahamian court on June 13. The court temporarily blocked the Bahamas attorney general from consenting to charges added to SBF’s U.S. indictment after his extradition in December 2022, Bloomberg reported.
The U.S. prosecutors added four new charges to the previous eight counts of fraud charges in February, including charges for illegal political donations. In March, the prosecutors charged SBF with offering bribes to Chinese officials, bringing the total count of charges against him to 13.
The co-founder of the FTX exchange argued for the dismissal of the new charges since they were not part of his agreement to return to the U.S.
New York federal prosecutors said they would proceed with the new charges with consent from the Bahamas attorney general. But the move was blocked in a separate filing.
Bahamian Justice Loren Klein said that SBF was entitled to be heard on whether the attorney general should consent to the recent U.S. charges, the report noted. The judge said it would be “procedurally unfair” to deny SBF the chance to put forth his arguments.
SBF filed in the Bahamas court on June 7, a day after the attorney general said in an email that the issue of charges would be decided between the two governments. SBF’s lawyers will argue to have the new charges excluded in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan on June 15.
The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office told Bloomberg it would drop the additional charges if the Bahamas attorney general does not consent to them.
It is not yet clear how the decision of the Bahamas government will affect SBF’s U.S. prosecution. He is set to go to trial in October and is currently free on a $250 million bond. The Bahamas proceeding could potentially delay his case in the U.S.