back to article Bahamian rap: Crypto villain Sam Bankman-Fried arrested

Bahamian authorities have arrested Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, after he was indicted by the United States on criminal charges. News of Bankman-Fried's cuffing arrived in a tweet from the Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, at around 1900 local time on Monday. USA …

  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Dude's screwed.

    Extra credit goes to Coffeezilla who managed to keep getting this absolute clown to confess to his crimes on the internet. SBF's lawyers have no doubt been pleading with him to STFU right from the start but he always had to be the smartest guy in the room.

  2. Charles Bu
    Childcatcher

    Big kid

    SBF - the biggest, most-indulged kid on the block.

    "I blame the parents."

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Big kid

      Since they are both law professors you would have expected them to teach respect for the law and not breaking it to their spawn. But, apparently they were more interested in the free Bahamian beach house provided by his ill-gotten wealth.

      (or were, I think I heard they lost their positions recently?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Know many Laywers?

        Because this is exactly the sort of behavior I expect from people who game the legal system for a paycheck, and they seem to have imparted the same deep respect for the law that most practicing lawyers here do. They twist it beyond recognition and ignore as much of it as they can to justify doing whatever they want or their client pays them for.

        Is it supposed to be that way? no. Is it that way? More often than they'd like to admit.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Know many Laywers?

          Sadly, AC, I have to agree with you. Although some lawyers are genuinely interested in 'doing good' and using the law for the benefit of oppressed people*, one I worked with was of the mindset that it was all about what you could get away with and not getting caught.

          *e.g., Southern Poverty Law Centre (https://www.splcenter.org) or Clive Stafford Smith (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_Stafford_Smith), Sir Keir Starmer helped the McDonalds defendants when they were sued by said burger firm for publicising what actually happened on their suppliers' farms. (Yes I know a lot of people don't like him, but he has helped people out pro bono in his early career).

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: doing good

            "I worked with was of the mindset that it was all about what you could get away with and not getting caught."

            And that, sadly, has become the social mindset of modern society.

            We, our social "we", have raised several generations of narcissistic sociopaths by empowering the trait through decades of teaching "individual freedom" and "free-market capitalism". When you couple these beliefs with a "me" generational belief that you should be important under any and all circumstances, you often grow a mentality where anything you do is OK, as long as it benefits you through the mechanism of making money.

            Money is King, because capitalism and, since You are all-important, any and all "roadblocks" that may stand in your way really shouldn't be there [laws and regulations are there only as an inconvenience to your "freedom" to grow and prosper, via whatever method you decide to take).

            I realized how toxic society has become as I watch channels such as JustPearlyThings on YouTube. A lovely young lady has young women and men as guests on the show and they discuss the modern dating scene, relationships, femininity, etc. And one male, discussing how [these] women were unrealistic in their relationship goals (expecting millionaire boyfriends, because) was, during the discussion, (actually) wearing a T-shirt that stated:

            "Make Money, not friends"

            What does that say about our society when you're standing there criticizing one group for focusing on money and self...while you wear a shirt proclaiming the EXACT SAME THING?? No self-awareness would come to mind, plus some other, more choice descriptions.

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: doing good

              >> a T-shirt that stated:

              "Make Money, not friends"

              He was probably paid to wear it.

            2. lglethal Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: doing good

              Look, as much as I love shitting on the younger generations as well, face facts, things where not different with the older generations. It was just far less openly talked about.

              Dodgy conman have existed since time immaterial. And they operated back in the old days with just as much impunity as they do today. There were always those who would shit on their neighbours to get a touch more power - how many corrupt cops, politicians, mayors, councillors, and other corrupt people in positions of authority existed 50 years ago. Probably more than there exist now. They happily lined their pockets with kickbacks, while ignoring the "little man" or the "community". The Police happily kept the Status Quo and enforced it irregardless of what the law actually said. A good beating, does wonders, no?

              Priests happily abused kids, and those around them shushed it up and made it taboo to speak about. All those "good" people, who kept quiet and turned their faces away. Was that any less toxic than what exists now?

              People feeling empowered, and wanting individual freedom is not in itself a bad thing. Huge numbers of people have been lifted out of lives of would-be drudgery, by being given just a little bit of belief that they can make something of themselves. Without that little bit of an uplift, we would still be in an age where a female doctor was considered a joke, a female politician (beyond a hereditary monarch) was unforgivable, and women should be in their place in the kitchen. And let's not get started on how minorities where treated. We now live in the most even society of all time, it's far from perfect, but at least it's progressing. Has the teaching on "Individual freedom's" gone too far, perhaps, but I'd still prefer it, to what existed in the past.

              So take off the Rose-tinted glasses. The Past was not so different to today, and in soooo many cases was a lot frigging worse...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Know many Laywers?

            >>one I worked with was of the mindset that it was all about what you could get away with

            Hah... I'm reminded of one of my childhood friends who, after high school had veered into illegal activities.

            Eventually he needed representation.

            Later in life ( after a stint in prison) he loved telling stories about his lawyer who had accepted his payments in kilos of marijuana!

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    request from US authorities

    Don't they have sovereignty?

    They should obviously leave the Commonwealth, then they wouldn't have to accept foreigner's demands

    1. John Gamble

      Re: request from US authorities

      The Commonwealth of the Bahamas? A former British Crown Colony?

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: request from US authorities

      You dont seem to understand the whole extradition process. The vast majority of the world are willing to hand over people who are accused of committing crimes in another country.

      Some countries wont hand over their own citizens (Russia for one). Some countries wont hand over people accused of crimes which arent a crime in that country, or for which they feel the accusation is political in nature, or where the accused face tortute or the death penalty if they are extradited.

      But since none of that is relevant in this case, then why wouldnt the Bahamas hand over this Muppet?

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: request from US authorities

        In this case also, the Bahamas might be more than happy for the US to spend the money prosecuting him.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nominative determinism.

    Bankman, Fried.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nominative determinism.

      just imagine him ending on an electric chair...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

    Unfortunately his coziness to certain people in power will probably result in a wrist slap and a few harsh words.....and probably a run for governor of California

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

      Madoff was cozy to a lot of powerful people but it didn't help him.

      Being close to powerful people only helps you if you're able to keep your misdeeds out of the news. Once the average Joe in the street knows your name you're cooked no matter who you know.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

        I think Bernie was OK until his sons realises what he was up to and ratted on him, the relevant Securities watchdog in the USA being more interested in watching various shades of pink on their computer screens, allegedly.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

      They only loved him for his money. Now he doesn't have any of that, they will happily throw him under a bus.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

        There's no way he doesn't have millions in bitcoin stashed in a cold wallet somewhere. He will serve maybe 10 years at most and suddenly have wealth when he gets out, and claim it is from "investors" helping him get back on his feet so he can start his next company con.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

          Maybe, but:

          1: I'm not sure he's that smart.

          2: I'm not that certain Bitcoin will still be worth anything in 10 years time, regardless of how blockchains as a whole progress.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

      Unfortunately his coziness to certain people in power will probably result in a wrist slap and a few harsh words..

      I think he's long outlived his usefulness and become a liability. If he did also rip off Ukraine, perhaps they'll also seek his extradition. Welcome to Ukraine, Mr Banking-Fraud, more specificially, welcome to Bakhmut.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

        ps.. Apparently, according to Federal sentencing guidelines, SBF is facing around 612,000 years of jail time. Hopefully in the next 30-50yrs, someone will invent cryostasis.

    4. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully his punishment will be of Madoff proportions

      I think he's about to learn that the number one rule is "don't lose rich people's money"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hopefully his punishment will be Madoff in proportion

    Unfortunately his coziness to certain people in power will probably result in a wrist slap and a few harsh words.....and probably a run for governor of California

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sacrificial Goat

      I suspect he's going to get the iron glove to the face, not the velvet one. The regulators like to publicly slaughter someone every few years to keep up the illusion that their doing their jobs. He perfectly fits the bill. Defiant, arrogant, involved in a sector of finance the rest of the industry wants to see hammered, and a slam dunk conviction where the prosecutor could probably secure a conviction while sleepwalking on Ambien.

      Someone will make a career milestone out of taking his head in court, and none of his few remaining friends have enough pull to get him into "slap on the wrist" court. No, I expect his remains will be thrown to the wolves, and rightly so. I hope the joyride with other peoples money was fun, because what he is looking at now is a world of pain as he slowly grinds through the legal system.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Arrogance

    If that guy was that smart, he would have chosen a country without extradition agreement with the US.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Arrogance

      I'm not sure he thought it would be a problem. I think that in his mind, he wasn't doing anything illegal (or he would never get caught). So why take the sort of precautions only a criminal would take?

      1. Jedit Silver badge
        FAIL

        "I think that in his mind, he wasn't doing anything illegal"

        I have heard, although take this with a Lot's Wife of salt as it comes at several removes, that Bankman-Fried actually had a folder called "Wirefraud" on the FTX servers.

        If it is a parody, I can only say that it's a measure of how incredibly dumb SBF has been that it wasn't immediately obvious as a parody. He's certainly been telling people in detail about all the crimes he committed while thinking he'd get away with it.

        (FAIL icon because he's a complete failure - not a comment on your post.)

        1. David Given
          FAIL

          Re: "I think that in his mind, he wasn't doing anything illegal"

          Not a folder. That was the name of the secret internal chat room. https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/ftx-s-inner-circle-had-a-secret-chat-group-called-wirefraud-20221213-p5c5sx

          1. Jedit Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: "I think that in his mind, he wasn't doing anything illegal"

            Yep, I misremembered it. Thanks for the correction.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not that smart

      Here we have another bullshit artist, plain and simple.

      His primary skill was acting like a smart person, not being one. To be fair he is probably slightly above average. But go back and re-read his antics and old interviews. He's toying with the interviewers, and too many of them(the reporters) lacked the depth to challenge his responses or behavior, and instead fawned over his supposed genius. Probably because he fit the narrative they like to sell. Amazing wunderkind that grasps this crazy new technology all the kids are raving about on the TickityToks and the Tweeter. Silicon Valley bootlickers that never threw a hardball question in their lives. So he was able to act like he was the "smartest person in the room" even when he wasn't.

      After enough of those narratives filled the media sphere, they drowned out the obvious trajectory the company was on. So even though the veneer of credibility FTX had wasn't even paper thin, interviewers preferred to sell the narrative of SBF as financial genius, because they liked the story better. Some of them did so at the behest of FTXs backers, and they should burn with the company and SBF. Other should take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves why a couple hours of research on Google was too much work to put in to background check SBF and the company.

      I don't know of many sound and above board companies that mostly deal with ultra-volatile financial instruments that are split into a constellation of holding companies, operating out of tax havens, and who's significant customers include large scale money launderers(sorry crypto-bros, tough love, a non trivial amount of traffic in cryptocurrencies is moving dark money around, especially Monero).

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    FAIL

    "akin to a bank"

    Weasel words.

    You cannot be "akin" to a bank.

    Either you have a banking charter, or you don't.

    It's only the idiot who has never even seen a banking charter who can spout that kind of bullshit.

    I can't wait to see how his goose is going to be cooked at trial.

    1. Sven Coenye
      Unhappy

      Re: "akin to a bank"

      And then there is PayPal. Which now advertises interest bearing accounts, yet AFAIK, still does not have a banking charter.

  9. Khaptain Silver badge

    Dirty money or dirty politicians ?

    So if most of the money went to the various political parties, why can't the money simply be returned ? Otherwise the parties should be considered as being accomplices to the crime..

    1. Sherrie Ludwig

      Re: Dirty money or dirty politicians ?

      So if most of the money went to the various political parties, why can't the money simply be returned ? Otherwise the parties should be considered as being accomplices to the crime..

      Beto O'Rouke returned an unsolicited million dollar donation from SBF just before the November election.

  10. Coastal cutie

    "He had become well known in Washington DC as a political donor, mostly to Democratic politicians or groups, supposedly supporting pandemic prevention and improved crypto regulation." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63953096 Oh the irony...……...

  11. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And yet

    Muppets are “investing” in crypto.

    Still.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: And yet

      Of the point if crypto is to hold your own currency with control your own wallet - the failure of a dodgy 'bank' that was holding money for you but was a crook should reinforce that ?

      1. breakfast Silver badge

        Re: And yet

        But people who are investing in it aren't treating it as a personal wallet, they're investing, which generally does involve giving it to some kind of crook as there don't appear to be any non-crooked operators in the entire ecosystem and if they were the crooks would rapidly outcompete them.

    2. jmch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: And yet

      It has nothing to do strictly with crypto, it was believing they were dealing with a bank and treating FTX like a bank when it didn't have a banking license and was therefore not overseen and audited in the same way as a bank. So they were actually handing their money over because they were dazzled by the glitzy bling-bling and the promise of huge returns. No different to the people who gave their money to Madoff, those who bought dutch tulips etc etc

      Crypto in this case was not the scam, it was a hook with which to reel suckers in. Strictly speaking one can hold crypto on their own wallet (caveat emptor, just like holding cash if you lose it, it's gone), or deposit their crypto holdings with a serious company that holds a banking license (yes, they exist!) which means they have had to jump through the regulatory hoops and also means they are backed by real capital.

    3. thejoelr

      Re: And yet

      Even if crypto isn't a scam, it seems like everyone big involved in it is a scammer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It'll look that way

        But it's mostly that the loudest voices are always the PT Barnum hucksters.

        Cryptocurrencies aren't the problem so much as the people, as you point out. The easiest way to steer clear of the sharks is by sticking to the parts of the ecosystem that are entirely part of the cryptocurrencies. The problem is that isn't sexy enough for most crypto-bros and at this point is unlikely to return zillions of dollars without immensely high risk. The transaction fees in a healthy Alt-coin are pretty low, and volatility is still high, so just playing the straight market is risky, and yield is not necessarily going to match the risk or beat other financial instruments.

        So why bother? Because most of us are getting screwed hard by the middle men in the financial system, who drain percentages of most transactions for doing almost nothing. The problem is that while the modern Alt-coins CAN do that job cheaper and more efficiently, the drive has been get rich quick speculation, pump and dump schemes, and rug pulls. Worse, very little effort is being spent to break into the point of sale market break the strangle hold the existing companies have on the market. So we are seeing a tiny fraction of the potential "legitimate" market.

        Most of the energy of the "Web 3" set is being wasted on pipe dreams or routed into obvious fraud, because that's where they think the Lambo money is, and greed attracts suckers like flies.

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