A former employee of United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken initiated legal proceedings against the company in connection with a breach of contract and sanctions violations, among other issues.
Per a court document filed on Nov. 26, Nathan Peter Runyon — a marine wartime veteran and ex-employee of Kraken, where he served as a financial analyst under the exchange’s chief financial officer Kaiser Ng — brought the case to court accusing the company and Ng of an array of legal violations and falsifications.
A range of accusations
Specifically, Runyon accused Kraken of unethical and illegal business tactics, defrauding employees over their stock options, sanctions violations, discrimination against him as a disabled military veteran and faking company officer addresses.
During his work at Kraken starting from August 2018, Runyon purportedly came across multiple questionable business tactics, wherein the company allegedly earned revenue from countries on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.
Runyon claimed that Kraken’s bank balances had been short of customer deposits to the tune of millions of dollars. Kraken allegedly did not conduct performance evaluations, as well as changed stock options grant vesting schedules without any amendments.
Moreover, Ng allegedly asked Runyon if he could use Runyon’s home address for applications for banks and regulators. Runyon agreed, however the company allegedly did not pay him rent for using his apartment.
Runyon notified Ng about his findings, but Ng allegedly ignored all of them and excluded Runyon from the project. The court filing features a number of Runyon’s other allegations against Kraken.
Cleanest exchange in the industry?
According to a market surveillance report by the Blockchain Transparency Institute released in late September, Kraken is among the cleanest cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry.
However, at the end of the second quarter of 2019, a Bloomberg report called out irregularities involving certain Tether (USDT) trades on Kraken’s exchange. John Griffin, a professor of finance at the University of Texas, told Bloomberg that the irregularities noticed are “suggestive of wash trading.”
This technique is sometimes employed by traders, who act as both seller and buyer in a given transaction, to give a false impression of supply and demand. This act in itself is illegal. Kraken discredited the content of the report in a blog post. “It’s not clear what harm could come from wash trading of a pegged asset against its peg,” Kraken wrote.