Analysis: After a day of fighting and confusion in the courtroom, SBF returns home

Jerone Roberts, the lawyer representing Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas, confirmed that SBF’s next court appearance will be to complete the extradition process and is expected to happen this week, likely on Tuesday.

Here’s the deal: All signs pointed to a speedy extradition to the US after people familiar with the SBF’s plans said it intended to drop its fight against being returned to the US.

But at Monday’s hearing in Nassau, the mood was pure chaos.

The tl version; dr: American lawyers for the SBF apparently worked out a deal with Bahamian prosecutors to drop the extradition fight, which would have taken months, if not years, to unfold.

But SBF’s local defense attorney, Roberts, said he was not included in that plan and claimed prosecutors would not share the US indictment with him. Prosecutor Franklyn Williams dismissed Roberts’ accusation, saying it was “not believed”.

A representative of SBF’s American lawyers told me it was “difficult to give details while relying on the Bahamian courts.

At the end of the hearing, the magistrate judge, understandably frustrated, cleared the courtroom so Bankman-Fried could call her American lawyers with her Bahamian lawyer present.

KEY CONTEXT

SBF had initially planned to fight efforts to bring him back to the United States. It has repeatedly denied knowingly defrauding customers, although it has admitted to mismanagement at FTX, its cryptocurrency exchange, and Alameda, its sister trading house (both now bankrupt).

But he was later denied bail in the Bahamas, meaning he would not be able to fight extradition from the comfort of his luxury home. Instead, he would have to stay in the country’s notorious Fox Hill prison, a place the US State Department has described as overcrowded, dirty and without medical care. Their cramped cells often have no mattresses and are “infested with rats, worms and insects,” according to a recent report. Access to the toilet is sometimes non-existent.

After a week of this, SBF is ready to tackle the music on American soil.

Of course, the federal detention center in Brooklyn where SBF could end up while awaiting trial isn’t exactly the Ritz. Inmates, lawyers and human rights advocates say the conditions inside this facility are also inhumane, citing overcrowding, frequent loss of heating and general unsanitary conditions. But he could also make another attempt at bail in an American court… Either of those options seems preferable to an interminable stay at Fox Hill.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: $520 MILLION

Epic Games, creator of the hit video game “Fortnite,” will pay a record $520 million to settle U.S. government allegations that it tricked millions of gamers, including children and teens, into making unwanted purchases and that it violated a children’s privacy law.

It is the largest fine the Federal Trade Commission has ever imposed, the agency said Monday.

TALK ABOUT CHAOS…

Well, the votes are in: Twitter users think Elon Musk should step down as CEO of the platform, according to a (very unscientific) poll of Musk’s followers.

57.5% of respondents said yes, Musk should resign, while 42.5% voted no. Musk said he would respect the results, though as of this writing he had not said whether he was stepping down or indicated who might replace him.

For those keeping track at home: It’s been a chaotic two months of Musk-era Twitter. In that time, Musk has:

  • He laid off about half of Twitter’s staff.
  • The rest of the staff have been given an ultimatum to do “extremely hardcore” work or leave.
  • He fired employees who disagreed with him and publicly shamed former employees who were involved in difficult-to-moderate discussions as part of the “Twitter Files.”
  • Started, stopped and restarted a revised user verification system that costs $8 a month for a blue check.
  • He frequently changed Twitter’s rules by executive order and without warning, banning people who violated the new rules, including several tech journalists and an account that tracked his plane.
  • Spreading a conspiracy theory about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi.
  • It welcomed back some of the platform’s permanently banned accounts, including former President Donald Trump and at least one prominent neo-Nazi.
  • It was implemented and then quickly withdrawn with a policy that would prevent users from sharing links to other social networks on Twitter.

Bottom line: Musk seems to be making it up as he goes along.

That’s not very reassuring for advertisers, who account for the vast majority of Twitter’s revenue. The company is about to lose $4 billion a year thanks to the exodus of advertisers, estimates Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

It will not be easy to find a successor. One of Musk’s first orders of business as CEO was to weed out Twitter’s C-suite — the executive ranks who, in normal times, would be natural candidates for the top job.

“No one wants the job that can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk tweeted. “It’s not about finding a CEO, it’s about finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive.”

And even if he does recruit externally, you’ll need an iron stomach to take the helm of the financially and reputationally damaged social media platform, which Musk bought for $44 billion. Any new CEO will still have to answer to Musk, the board’s sole director.

RELATED: Elon Musk’s handling of Twitter has “severely damaged” market sentiment around Tesla and risks a backlash from advertisers and consumers, a Wall Street analyst warned.

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