Bringing closure to the long-awaited judgment related to the money laundering activities over the BitMEX crypto exchange, one of the four federal district courthouses in New York reportedly sentenced two-year probation and six months of home detention to founder and ex-CEO Arthur Hayes.
Arthur Hayes, along with the other BitMEX co-founders Benjamin Delo and Samuel Reed, and the company’s first non-employee Gregory Dwyer, pleaded guilty to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations on Feb 24, admitting to “willfully failing to establish, implement, and maintain an anti-money laundering (“AML”) program at BitMEX.”
Pleading guilty to supporting money laundering is a punishable offense, often carrying a maximum penalty of five years prison time. However, both Hayes and Delo were charged with violating the BSA by failing to implement a compliant anti-money laundering program ahead of the March trial date and had agreed to pay $10 million in criminal fines each.
On April 7, Cointelegraph reported that Hayes voluntarily surrendered to United States authorities in Hawaii six months after federal prosecutors first levied charges, to which his lawyers stated:
“Mr. Hayes voluntarily appeared in court and looks forward to fighting these unwarranted charges.”
According to the indictment, public court filings and statements made in court, Hayes was released after posting a $10-million bail bond pending future proceedings in New York. However, prosecutors from the office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit found the entrepreneurs to be guilty of not implementing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) safeguards, including not fulfilling Know Your Customer (KYC) obligations.
Despite the imminent possibility of serving jail time, owning up to the allegations resulted in Hayes being sentenced to a home confinement sentence that requires him to spend the first six months of his sentence from home. In addition, he also agreed to pay a fine of $10 million.
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Speaking to Cointelegraph, Dmytro Volkov, chief technology officer at crypto exchange CEX.IO, said that the notion of crypto being primarily used by criminals is outdated, adding:
“In the case of Bitcoin, whose blockchain ledger is publicly available, a serious exchange with a competent analytics team can easily monitor and thwart hackers and launderers before the damage is done.”