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CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAM: FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried arrested in the Bahamas

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• A statement by the government of the Bahamas said Mr. Bankman-Fried was arrested after prosecutors in the United States filed criminal charges

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was arrested in the Bahamas on Monday after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges.

“S.B.F.’s arrest followed receipt of formal notification from the United States that it has filed criminal charges against S.B.F. and is likely to request his extradition,” the government of the Bahamas said in a statement.

The arrest was the latest stunning development in one of the most dramatic falls from grace in recent corporate history. Mr. Bankman-Fried, 30, was scheduled to testify in Congress on Tuesday about the collapse of FTX, which was one of the most powerful firms in the emerging crypto industry until it imploded virtually overnight last month after a run on deposits exposed an $8 billion hole in its accounts.

Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York confirmed that Mr. Bankman-Fried had been charged and said an indictment would be unsealed on Tuesday. Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement that it had authorized charges “relating to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s violations of our securities laws.”

The criminal charges against Mr. Bankman-Fried included wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and money laundering, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Mr. Bankman-Fried, who was the only person charged in the indictment, was taken into custody by the Bahamian authorities, the person said. He was arrested shortly after 6 p.m. at his apartment complex in the Albany resort in the Bahamas, according to a statement from the Bahamian police. The timing of when Mr. Bankman-Fried might be moved to the United States was unclear. While the Bahamas has an extradition treaty with the United States, the process can take weeks, and sometimes far longer if a criminal defendant contests it.

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Mr. Bankman-Fried was cooperative during the arrest, according to a person familiar with the matter, and will be held overnight in a cell at a police station. He is scheduled to appear on Tuesday in Magistrate Court in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

A spokesman for Mr. Bankman-Fried declined to comment. Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, also declined to comment.

“Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. government, based on a sealed indictment,” Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.”

Once a golden boy of the crypto industry and a major donor to the Democratic Party, Mr. Bankman-Fried has seen his vast business and political empire collapse with stunning speed. His exchange filed for bankruptcy last month, and his personal fortune has dwindled to virtually nothing. While he used to be hailed as a modern-day John Pierpont Morgan, he’s now more often likened to Bernie Madoff, who orchestrated the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

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Lawyers involved in the case expressed surprise at the suddenness of the arrest. Mr. Bankman-Fried had been widely expected to face a criminal indictment. But complex white-collar fraud cases can take months to build. Until the arrest, Mr. Bankman-Fried was slated to testify remotely about the FTX collapse in a hearing in front of the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. The hearing is still set to go ahead, just without Mr. Bankman-Fried’s testimony.

“The American public deserves to hear directly from Mr. Bankman-Fried about the actions that’ve harmed over one million people,” Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the committee, said in a statement. “The public has been waiting eagerly to get these answers under oath before Congress, and the timing of this arrest denies the public this opportunity.”

Several people familiar with the investigation said the speed with which the authorities moved in filing criminal and civil charges was an indication that prosecutors and regulators had received information from cooperating witnesses.

Mr. Bankman-Fried has been facing scrutiny from dozens of regulators across the world, including the Justice Department, the S.E.C. and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Prosecutors in Manhattan have been examining whether FTX broke the law by transferring billions in customer funds to Alameda Research, a crypto hedge fund that Mr. Bankman-Fried also founded and owned.

They have also focused on whether Mr. Bankman-Fried and his hedge fund engaged in market manipulation that may have helped cause the failure of two prominent cryptocurrencies last spring.

Ever since FTX collapsed, the S.E.C. and federal prosecutors have moved quickly with requests for documents from various parties, including some of the big financial firms that invested up to $2 billion in the crypto exchange beginning last year, said two people briefed on the matter.

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It is unclear whether the federal authorities are looking at charging anyone else in connection with the collapse of FTX. It is not uncommon for an S.E.C. civil complaint to reveal more information about the events that led to the filing of charges than an indictment.

FTX’s collapse began early last month, when a run on deposits revealed an $8 billion hole in the company’s finances. Mr. Bankman-Fried sought a lifeline from a rival company, the giant crypto exchange Binance, but the deal fell through after Binance examined FTX’s books.

Sam Bankman-Fried stands outdoors in front of a large, white column on a porch near palm trees.

Mr. Bankman-Fried quickly became a villain in the crypto industry. Hundreds of thousands of customers have funds trapped on FTX, with little prospect of getting them back anytime soon.

Surprisingly for an executive facing criminal investigations, Mr. Bankman-Fried had given numerous media interviews in the wake of FTX’s collapse. At the recent DealBook Summit, a New York Times event, he blamed “huge management failures” and sloppy accounting for his company’s implosion, insisting that he “did not ever try to commit fraud” or knowingly dip into the funds of FTX customers to finance other investments.

When FTX filed for bankruptcy, Mr. Bankman-Fried stepped down as chief executive. He was replaced by John Ray, a seasoned corporate turnaround expert who oversaw the unwinding of the energy trading company Enron after an accounting scandal in 2001.

In a bankruptcy filing last month, Mr. Ray said that the management of FTX reflected a “complete failure of corporate control.”

Mr. Ray was also scheduled to testify to the House on Tuesday. In a prepared statement, he said FTX had been a mess.

The collapse stemmed “from the absolute concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals,” he wrote.

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Elon Musk unveils new name, logo for Twitter

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Popular microblogging app, Twitter has unveiled its new logo.

The new logo was made public by Twitter owner Elon Musk and its new CEO.

The social media app on Sunday hinted that it would ditch its bird logo, be rebranded with the name X and move quickly into payments, banking and commerce, according to AFP.

Founded in 2006, Twitter takes its name from the sound of birds chattering, and it has used avian branding since its early days, when the company bought a stock symbol of a light blue bird for $15, according to the design website Creative Bloq.

Tweeting a picture of the company’s new logo – a white X on a black background – late Sunday night, Twitter chief executive Linda Yaccarino said “X is here! Let’s do this.”

Also late Sunday night, Musk changed his profile picture to the company’s new logo, which he described as “minimalist art deco,” and changed his Twitter bio to “X.com,” which now redirects to twitter.com.

Musk had earlier tweeted that “If a good enough X logo is posted tonight, we’ll make (it) go live worldwide tomorrow.”

Musk also tweeted that under the site’s new identity, a post would be called “an X.”

The changes were not visible on the website as of 0630 GMT Monday.

Musk had already named Twitter’s parent company the X Corporation, and previously said his takeover of the social media giant was “an accelerant to creating X, the everything app” — a reference to the X.com company he founded in 1999, a later version of which went on to become payments giant PayPal.

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Such an app could still function as a social media platform, and also include messaging and mobile payments.

“Powered by AI, X will connect us in ways we’re just beginning to imagine,” Yaccarino tweeted earlier on Sunday.

Yaccarino, an advertising sales executive at NBCUniversal who Musk poached last month to become Twitter’s CEO, said the social media platform was on the cusp of broadening its scope.

“X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities,” Yaccarino tweeted.

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Binance CEO declares ‘Binance Nigeria Limited scam entity’

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The Chief Executive Officer of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, has declared Nigeris’s subsidiary of the global cryptocurrency exchange platform as a scam.

Zhao made this known via his Twitter handle on Sunday, saying, “Binance Nigeria Limited a scam entity.”

“Binance has issued cease & desist notice to the scammer entity “Binance Nigeria Limited”. Don’t believe everything you read in the news,” he wrote.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria had declared that Binance Nigeria was operating illegally in the country as it is not registered or regulated by the SEC.

Details later…

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SEE ALSO:  Binance CEO declares ‘Binance Nigeria Limited scam entity’
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Jack Dorsey launches Twitter alternative ‘Bluesky’ on Android

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Co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Twitter, Jack Dorsey has launched a new application called ‘Bluesky’ on Android, a few hours after losing his verification badge on the microblogging platform.

According to the app’s website, the “social internet” of the future will give users more options and creators “independence from platforms”.

However, the app is still under development and may only be accessed with an invite code.

“We’re building the AT Protocol, a new foundation for social networking which gives creators independence from platforms, developers the freedom to build, and users a choice in their experience,” the website stated.

Using financing from Twitter, Mr Dorsey started developing Bluesky as a side project in 2019. In late February, it was first rolled out to iOS users.

As per TechCrunch, the basic features for monitoring likes or bookmarks, modifying tweets, quote-tweeting, direct messages and using hashtags, which are available on Twitter are not present in Bluesky at launch. This will make the app a more streamlined version of Twitter than what it initially appeared to be.

Additionally, it’s incorporating decentralisation into its own protocol, the AT Protocol, rather than adding to the work already done on ActivityPub, the protocol powering Mastodon, an open-source Twitter alternative and a variety of other decentralised apps in the larger “Fediverse”, the term for these connected servers hosting free, open-source web publishing software, as per the outlet.

The demand for the application has been growing and has 20,000 active users currently.

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