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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.

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.

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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.

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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Tariff increase: Court fines Multichoice N150m, orders free subscription to all Nigerians

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Tariff increase: Court fines Multichoice N150m, orders free subscription to all Nigerians
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The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal has ordered MultiChoice Nigeria to provide one month of free subscription for raising the prices of its DStv and GOtv services.

Additionally, the court imposed a N150 million fine on MultiChoice Nigeria for contesting the jurisdiction of an Abuja court that had previously restrained it from increasing its subscription prices.

The verdict, delivered on Friday, June 7, was handed down by a three-member panel led by Thomas Okosu. The court cited Section 39(2) of the FCCPC Act, which grants the tribunal jurisdiction throughout Nigeria over all profit-oriented commercial activities.

Okosu clarified that the tribunal’s jurisdiction covers all business activities within Nigeria, and he noted that there is no requirement for an aggrieved consumer seeking to enforce their rights to file a complaint with the President of Nigeria or the Price Control Board. He observed that the claimant had written to the FCCPC before filing the case.

“I conclude that this tribunal has the jurisdiction to preside over consumer rights in this case and resolve this issue against MultiChoice,” Okosu stated.

The tribunal also determined that the claimant’s lawsuit was not challenging the price hike itself but the illegality of MultiChoice’s eight-day notice to customers. It noted that MultiChoice had already disobeyed its interim orders and condemned the company’s action of raising DStv and GOtv prices.

The tribunal dismissed MultiChoice’s preliminary objection for disobeying interim orders and imposed an administrative penalty for failing to comply with the tribunal’s directives.

“The first defendant is hereby mandated to pay a N150 million penalty. MultiChoice is hereby ordered to give Nigerians one month of free subscription,” Okosu added.

Previously, the tribunal had restrained MultiChoice from increasing its subscription rates pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice filed by Barrister Festus Onifade. Onifade had sued MultiChoice Nigeria Ltd and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), accusing the PayTV company of unjustly increasing subscription fees without giving customers a one-month notice and seeking interim orders against the organization.

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However, in its reaction, MultiChoice said it will appeal against Friday’s ruling of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal, CCPT, which slammed  a N150 milliuon fine against it for challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

Multichoice Nigeria said it disagrees with the ruling and will file an appeal against it.

The organisation said in a statement:  “MultiChoice Nigeria is aware of the recent ruling by the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) regarding its jurisdiction to entertain a price regulation matter. We disagree with the ruling, and will therefore file an appeal against said ruling.

“As the matter is currently sub judice, we are restrained from making further comments.”

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Enugu Govt partners tech firm on training to tackle youth unemployment

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Enugu State Governnent has partnered a tech firm, African Leadership Accelerator (ALX), to train youths on online tech skills to tackle unemployment and idleness.

The state government and ALX Africa had made it possible for all Enugu State youths to access free-of-charge training on Artificial Intelligence (AI) applicable to all field of human endeavours and jobs.

Speaking further on the partnership on Thursday in Enugu, the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Lloyd Ekweremadu, said that the partnership was meant to up-skill and upgrade knowledge newly or already acquired by the youths in the state.

Ekweremadu said that the partnership and the benefit it would bring to the state “is part of the employment vision of Gov. Peter Mbah to reduce unemployment in the state by about 70 per cent by 2030”.

According to him, what we set out to achieve is to ensure employability of Enugu State youths both in locally and international labour market, which is highly competitive.

“His Excellence, Gov. Peter Mbah is keen on developing the capacity of youths and creating their capabilities for them to compete at the global world employment market.

“We intend to use technology, tech enhancement and development to drive this process and ensure youths in the state cover up the knowledge and employability gap,” he said.

Ekweremadu said that the state would start with AI training, which will be done for all youths free-of-charge and thereafter other system and software training/courses would be done online at a reduced cost.

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He advised youth to take advantage of the trainig, adding the youth ministry was fashioning out ways to tackle the issue of getting a place within the metropolis where youths with challenge of not having power supply, internet connectivity, a laptop, tablets and android phones can participate in the training.

The Country General Manager of ALX Africa, Ms Ruby Igwe, said that the partnership on various tech training would bring modern skill sets closer to the people especially youths that needed tech skills for employment purpose and to create their own start-ups and be employers of labour.

Igwe said that the free-of-charge AI course training would be for youths between the ages of 18 and 35; while it would run for six weeks on online platform of ALX Africa.

She said that participants, who successful undergo the course, would be certified as well as have opportunities to participate in other online courses that would enhance their knowledge and reposition them to a vintage position in the global market and international mobility of labour.

“The curriculum for our courses especially the AI course is from a reputable US school and the same course is runned globally and even locally in some countries in Africa and one or two states in Nigeria. So, it is nothing short of internationally acceptable AI training.

“After the AI Course, other online courses, meant to equip youths with soft and international sellable online skills, will follow in partnership with the state government to ensure we carry hundreds of thousands of youths along and prepare them for the competitive future ahead,” she said.

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FG to inaugurate advanced facility for Gas Leak Detection Device and Printed Circuit Board technology

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NDDC presents award letters to foreign post graduate scholars
• Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe
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The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, will commission the Amal Technology’s production facility for Gas Leak Detection Device and Printed Circuit Board at Idu, Abuja on Thursday, December 21, 2023.
The Gas Leak Detection Device, known as Amal Aerio, is an advanced innovative solution developed by Amal Technology to detect gas leakages and avoid explosions
The homegrown innovation was initiated by Amal Technologies Limited and supported by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) under its Research & Development innovation intervention, which has a Technology Incubation and Innovation Centre (TIIC) domiciled within the Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Under the NCDMB’s Research and Development Framework, it facilitates ideas to market and provides institutional and funding support for market-driven research. It also supports the commercialization of breakthrough innovations with high market prospects.
The Gas Leak Detection Device is known as Amal Aerio, and the commissioning ceremony will be performed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, supported by the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe.
Other dignitaries expected at the event include the Minister of Solid Minerals, the Minister of State Steel Development, the Minister of Science and Technology, the Director General National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Director General, Energy Commission and members of the National Assembly.
Amal Aerio is a gas and smoke detection device and it adopted Internet of Things (IOT) to introduce into the market a device that prevents fire disasters by alerting homeowners users through phone calls and text messages in the event of a gas leak. The facility also has the capability for Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturing.
With NCDMB’s support to Amal Technologies Limited, the company’s products are guaranteed to be made available to Nigerians and exported. In this regard, NCDMB is deepening in-country capacity for research and development, leveraging Nigeria’s oil and gas resources to catalyse its industrialisation.
The innovation complements the Federal Government’s decade of gas policy and in particular, the drive to deepen the utilization of cooking gas in homes across the country, a press release by NCDMB, stated.
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