The Bahamas Supreme Court has granted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fred the power to contest new charges brought against him by US prosecutors.
Charges including bank fraud and bribery were added, in addition to the original charges of wire fraud and money laundering, following the collapse of Bankman-Fried cryptocurrency exchange FTX last year.
The reason some of the charges were dropped is that they might violate Bankman Fried’s extradition terms because they were not included in the original indictment that served as the legal basis for their extradition to the United States.
The former FTX boss was arrested in the Bahamas in December of 2022 and, shortly after, extradited to the United States under a special agreement between the two countries.
Bahamas And US at Loggerheads over Extradition Agreement
According to the agreement, extradited persons can only be prosecuted and punished for crimes that the extraditing country – in this case, the Bahamas – has agreed to.
“Plaintiffs are permitted to initiate judicial review proceedings,” Justice Lauren Klein of the Bahamas Supreme Court said in Tuesday’s ruling.
Klein said the Bahamas government cannot add additional offenses until the legal process is over.
The Bahamas government had previously argued that accepting the US request was only a matter between sovereign states.
Klein also said that the review should be done “in an expeditious manner”, although he said he did not want to pre-empt its findings.
In a separate filing, Bankman Fried’s attorney, Michael Cohen, said he “intends to file for judicial review as directed by the Supreme Court and continue to exercise his legal rights in the Bahamas.”
Last month, it was reported that the US Department of Justice might drop some of the charges against the former FTX CEO if authorities in the Bahamas objected to it.
Bankman-Fried Seeks Dismissal of Criminal Charges
As reported, Bankman-Fried has asked a New York federal judge to dismiss most of the criminal charges brought against her by federal prosecutors.
Bankman-Fried attorneys argued, in a filing with the federal court in the Southern District of New York last month, that many of the charges against her are “dramatic” and “turned civil and regulatory issues into federal crimes.”
Overall, the disgraced crypto boss’ defense team has asked that 10 of the 13 counts against him be dismissed.
Previously, Bankman-Fried had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In return, three members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle have already pleaded guilty and pledged to cooperate with authorities.
These include Nishad Singh, former director of engineering at FTX, Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, former CTO of FTX.