The Department of Justice said Thursday that Arthur Hayes and Benjamin Delo, co-founders of the crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, have pleaded guilty to violating the US Bank Secrecy Act.
The announcement closes a legal chapter that began in the fall of 2020, when Hayes and Delo, in addition to co-founder Samuel Reed and BitMEX head of business development Greg Dwyer, were accused of "evading U.S. anti-money laundering requirements," US officials said at the time.
Specifically, the two "pled guilty to one count each of violating the Bank Secrecy Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison," per the DOJ.
Per the DOJ statement:
"Under the terms of their respective plea agreements, HAYES and DELO each agreed to separately pay a $10 million criminal fine representing pecuniary gain derived from the offense."
"Today’s guilty pleas reflect this Office’s continued commitment to the investigation and prosecution of money laundering in the cryptocurrency sector," US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
A BitMEX spokesman told The Block: "We are aware of developments in the DOJ case but will not be commenting on an ongoing legal matter to which no BitMEX entity is a party. It’s business as usual, all funds are safe, and there is no impact to the functionality of the platform including deposits and withdrawals."
Following the publication of this report, a spokesperson for Hayes told The Block: “Mr. Hayes accepts responsibility for his actions and looks forward to the time when he can put this matter behind him.”
A spokesperson for Delo said: "Ben Delo has resolved Bank Secrecy Act allegations with the US Department of Justice through a negotiated settlement. He regrets that BitMEX, the cryptocurrency derivatives platform he co-founded, lacked an adequate customer identification programme. Ben voluntarily appeared in the US to address these charges. Together with BitMEX’s agreement with the CFTC and FinCEN last year, all financial benefits from activity in the US have been paid to US authorities. This firmly draws a line under the matter. Ben looks forward to focusing his time and energy on his philanthropy – which this agreement allows him to do – and is grateful to his friends and family for their continued support. Ben will be making no further comment at this time."
This story is developing.