Owners of the crypto exchange face charges from the US SEC for their alleged role in money laundering.
The hearing dates for crypto exchange BitMEX have been fixed for March 28, 2022, as per a report on legal outlet Law360.
The firm was one of the biggest futures exchanges for cryptocurrencies in the world for a large part of its existence but has since lost out to other firms like Binance and FTX.
Fall from grace
They come months after prosecutors had filed criminal charges accusing four founders and executives of BitMEX of evading rules designed to stop money laundering on their crypto and futures trading platform.
Prosecutors, in the charge sheet, said BitMEX was a well-oiled “vehicle” for money laundering and sanctions violations, including claims it was used to launder proceeds of a cryptocurrency hack and that customers from Iran traded on its platform. Under US laws, each count carries a maximum five-year prison term.
All four executives stepped down shortly after the charges were made public. These included the founding team, co-founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes, co-founder Benjamin Delo, and CTO Samuel Reed, and Gregory Dwyer, BitMEX’s first employee, who faces charges as well but is yet to appear.
The team, and exchange, were said to have failed to instill anti-money laundering measures on their exchange while allowing US citizens to trade and invest in unlicensed securities and were accused of violating the Bank Secrecy Act, and know-your-customer and anti-money laundering laws put in place by the US Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Hayes surrendered in April 2021, and Delo surrendered to authorities in March 2021. Reed was arrested shortly after the charges in October 2020 but was released on a $5 million bond later on. Dwyer remains absconding.
As such, BitMEX is involved in other ongoing lawsuits as well. Last year, traders Yaroslav Kolchin and Vitaly Dubinin, claimed the exchange had engaged in market manipulation and unregistered trading, stating the higher ups “looted” over $440 million even as the investigation was ongoing.