Former Head of BitMEX Pleads Guilty to Violating AML Laws

BitMEX co-founders have pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act's anti-money-laundering provisions during a hearing on Thursday in New York federal court and agreed to pay a $10 million fine.

Arthur Hayes and Ben Delo, founders of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX, pleaded guilty to violating US law on one count. This is stated on the website of the US Department of Justice.

“Arthur Hayes and Ben Delo […] pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act by willfully refusing to establish, implement and maintain an anti-money laundering program at BitMEX,” the agency said.

According to a press release, they agreed to pay $10 million in fines separately, an amount the Justice Department called "material gains derived from the crime." The maximum penalty for the relevant crime is up to 5 years in prison. The court will announce the specific punishment at a later date.

In a statement cited by CoinDesk, Hayes said he takes responsibility for his actions "and looks forward to putting this thing behind him."

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A Delo spokesman said he regrets that BitMEX "did not have an adequate customer identification program in place."

The company itself said that they were aware of the events in the case, but declined to comment on the current process.

In October 2020, the US Department of Justice filed charges of violating the Bank Secrecy Act against co-founders of the exchange Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, Samuel Reed, and Greg Dwyer. Each faces up to five years in prison.

In parallel with the accusations from the Ministry of Justice, the CFTC filed a civil lawsuit against the exchange and its affiliated companies. The defendants were Hayes, Reid, and Delo.

Reed was arrested in the United States, he was released on $5 million bail.

In the UK, Delo surrendered to US authorities in March 2021. Hayes flew from Singapore to Hawaii in April, having previously agreed on the terms of voluntary surrender.

The court also released both on bail. For Hayes, the amount was $10 million, and for Delo - $20 million. Dwyer, who lived in Bermuda, agreed to extradition in September.

The exchange settled a civil lawsuit by the CFTC, agreeing to a $100 million fine and an independent audit.

Recall that at the end of 2021, Dwyer's lawyers convinced the court to postpone the consideration of his case until October 2022 due to a lack of time to prepare for the trial.

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