BitMEX’s Arthur Hayes proposes surrender to US authorities

BitMEX's former CEO Arthur Hayes is proposing to surrender himself to the US authorities, over accusations that the crypto exchange failed to devise an adequate anti-money laundering programme. — REUTERS

Arthur Hayes, the former chief executive of crypto exchange BitMEX who is wanted by the US government, proposed to surrender to authorities in Hawaii on April 6, according to a court filing.

Hayes is currently in Singapore, but has discussed surrendering in Hawaii and appearing remotely in a New York court, said Jessica Greenwood, assistant US attorney in Manhattan, according to a transcript of a Feb 9 hearing.

She said arrangements are under discussion that would allow Hayes to live abroad and to travel to the US for court appearances. If there’s a trial, Hayes would come to New York, Greenwood said.

Hayes is among founders and executives of BitMEX who were charged last year with violations of the US Secrecy Act "by wilfully failing to establish, implement, and maintain an adequate anti-money laundering programme” on the exchange.

"In so doing, they allegedly allowed BitMEX to operate as a platform in the shadows of the financial markets, ” the authorities said.

Hayes, Benjamin Delo, Gregory Dwyer and Samuel Reed were charged in New York, where federal prosecutors claimed the exchange served American customers while flouting US banking laws. Hayes said BitMEX was incorporated in the Seychelles because it could bribe authorities there for the cost of "just a coconut, ” according to the indictment.

Reed was arrested in Massachusetts last year, and federal authorities are still rounding up the remaining defendants.

Since the case was made public, BitMEX has distanced itself from Hayes -- he stepped down, and the firm reshuffled its executive ranks and appointed a new CEO. Still BitMEX, which at one time was the world’s largest exchange for cryptocurrency derivatives, is no longer even in the top five, according to tracker Skew.

Hayes didn’t return requests for comment. The office of the US attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to comment. – Bloomberg

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