BitMEX’s former head of business development pleaded guilty to charges that he failed to implement stringent KYC/AML rules.
Since 2020, US Authorities have filed numerous charges against BitMEX leadership – and against the platform itself.
So far, the three co-founders of the platform have all been sentenced, whether to a short-term house arrest and a $10 million fine in the case of Arthur Hayes, probation for Benjamin Delo, or an equal fine for Samuel Reed.
Former High-Level Employee Also Indicted
However, the cases against BitMEX personnel were not limited to those filed against the co-founders. Yesterday, Gregory Dwyer – one of the first employees of BitMEX and the former head of business development – pleaded guilty to one count of violating the US Bank Secrecy Act “by willfully failing to establish, implement, and maintain an anti-money laundering (AML) program at BitMEX, and aiding and abetting the same.”
Dwyer, 39, admitted his guilt to a US District Court presided over by Judge John G. Koeltl and will pay a fine of $150k as a part of the plea deal.
According to the prosecution, Dwyer had willingly failed to put in place stringent KYC and AML procedures that would have blocked US customers from accessing the platform and carrying out transactions.
Although the platform had legally withdrawn from US markets in 2015, about a year after its foundation, the security measures that Dwyer was allegedly responsible for could be easily flouted by anyone with some amount of technical know-how. This enabled criminals to use the exchange for money laundering and other illicit activities.
Crypto Cannot Skirt US Regulations, Says Attorney
The $150k fine represents the pecuniary gain that the court believes was a result of the lax regulation under the purview of Mr. Dwyer.
In closing, Attorney Damian Williams commented on the case, saying the court’s decision reaffirms that the US legal system does not and will not turn a blind eye to cryptocurrency exchanges and similar platforms within the industry and will pursue those responsible for legal violations beyond the level of upper management.
“With this plea, this Office has now obtained criminal convictions against all three founders, as well as a high-ranking employee at BitMEX, for willful violations of anti-money laundering laws. Today’s plea reflects that employees with management authority at cryptocurrency exchanges, no less than the founders of such exchanges, cannot willfully disregard their obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act.”
So far, neither Dwyer nor his lawyer has made a statement on the court’s decision.