A New York court has ordered the co-founders of crypto exchange BitMEX to pay a total of US$30 million in “civil monetary penalties.”
The court had received a letter from the legal team of the platform’s former CEO and co-founder, Arthur Hayes, requesting that the latter be excused from a prison term. The latter, co-founder Benjamin Delo and former chief technology officer Samuel Reed were fined $10 million, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) explained in a statement.
The move comes after Hayes, Reed, and Delo pleaded guilty to offenses related to the lack of anti-money laundering protocols on the BitMEX platform between November 2014 and October 2020.
In a press release, the CFTC said the trio and another unidentified individual were found guilty of “willfully causing BitMEX to violate the Bank Secrecy Act and conspiring to commit the same violation.”
The regulator noted that Hayes, Delo, and Reed “have pleaded guilty” to the indictments against them “and are expected to be sentenced in the coming weeks.”
Caroline Pham, Commissioner of the CFTC, said that the judgment “highlights the CFTC’s leading role in bringing digital assets within the regulatory perimeter so that a high level of protection for customers and market participants applies.”
Ms. Pham added that the commission would “relentlessly pursue its mission of promoting market integrity, responsible innovation and fair competition, which supports the growth of compliant digital asset markets.”
She claimed that letting “unregistered companies” operate “in violation of the law” would give “bad guys an unfair advantage over those who do the right thing by following CFTC rules.”
She stressed the importance of “enforcing individual responsibility concerning registration, market conduct, and anti-money laundering rules,” which Ms. Pham described as “fundamental aspects of the United States regulatory framework.
CFTC Acting Director of Sanctions and Enforcement, Gretchen Lowe, was also quoted as saying:
“Persons who control crypto derivatives trading platforms operating in the United States must ensure that they comply with applicable federal commodity laws, including CFTC registration and regulatory requirements. “