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In the Bahamas, a Lingering Sympathy for Sam Bankman-Fried

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Bankman-Fried has described himself as a standard-bearer for the entire cryptocurrency industry, working to diversify the island’s economy, which has long sought to expand beyond tourism, but has been hit hard by declining tourism. punished. COVID19 Pandemic. He helped organize the Spring Crypto Conference, which attracted hundreds of wealthy visitors. At Albany, the seaside complex where he and his companions lived, they were known as generous employers. One delivery driver said he received a tip of over $100 for making a modest order of Burger King for a cryptocurrency investor there.

In some cases, resident attitudes reflect simple empathy. The Christian Life of Nassau, Philip his butler, the elder of his church, said, “I feel sorry for him.

In congressional testimony earlier this month, FTX’s new CEO, John J. Ray III, accused Bahamian authorities of illegally withdrawing $100 million just hours before the crypto exchange collapsed. Mr. Lay called the process “irregular” and said authorities had thwarted his efforts to get answers.Bahamas securities regulator denied it in a statement.

The Bahamas has a low overall crime rate, but those convicted are often sentenced to long prison terms. Fox Hill, where Mr. Bankman-Fried was held, is known locally as “Fox Hell.” A flood of 1,400 inmates, more than 40% of his original capacity, according to the former inmate and his family.

Sean Hall, a former prisoner released this year, said a typical breakfast was sardine grits scooped into a moldy cup. Unseasoned minced meat and rice are common for lunch. Violence by both guards and fellow inmates was common.

By Fox Hill standards, Bankman-Fried received royal treatment. According to administrators, he was kept under surveillance in a dormitory-style room with as many as five of his inmates in the prison’s medical wing. Being a vegan, he was given toast and jam for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, he stewed greens and other vegetables.

Still, prison conditions led to the decision to strike a deal with U.S. prosecutors so that Bankman-Fried would be extradited to the United States.

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