A federal prosecutor announced Wednesday night that two associates of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried had agreed to plea deals on charges related to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. The prosecutor also said Bankman-Fried was being flown to the United States from the Bahamas to face charges stemming from the scandal.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Carolyn Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, a trading firm started by Bankman-Fried, and Gary Wang, who co-founded FTX along with Bankman-Fried, pleaded guilty in the Southern District of New York to charges related to “their roles in the fraud that contributed to FTX’s collapse.” Both are cooperating with the Southern District, he said.
The charges against them include wire fraud, securities fraud and commodities fraud.
“Gary has accepted responsibility for his actions and takes seriously his obligations as a cooperating witness,” an attorney for Wang told CBS News in a statement.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also announced civil charges against Ellison and Wang Wednesday.
Bankman-Fried appeared at a Bahamian Magistrate’s Court Wednesday and said he’d agreed to be extradited to the U.S. He was then taken back to prison, where he waited for a plane for the trip, according to Bahamian news organization Our News.
Williams said Bankman-Fried is in FBI custody and “on his way back to the United States. He will be transported directly to the Southern District of New York and he will appear in court before a judge in this district as soon as possible.”
A man believed to be Bankman-Fried was in a plane that landed at Westchester County Airport north of New York City overnight.
Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried last week at the request of the U.S. government. U.S. prosecutors allege he played a central role in the rapid collapse of FTX and hid its problems from the public and investors. The SEC said Bankman-Fried illegally used investors’ money to buy real estate on behalf of himself and his family.
The 30-year-old could potentially spend the rest of his life in jail.
In media interviews, Bankman-Fried — the son of two Stanford professors and a prolific political donor — has maintained that he erred in his running of FTX, but that he didn’t commit fraud.
Bankman-Fried was denied bail Friday after a Bahamian judge ruled that he posed a flight risk. The founder and former CEO of FTX, once worth tens of billions of dollars on paper, was being held in the Bahamas’ Fox Hill prison, which has been cited by human rights activists as having poor sanitation and being infested with rats and insects.
Once he’s back in the U.S., Bankman-Fried’s attorney will be able to request that he be released on bail.