In the fourth admission to violations of U.S. law among top figures at BitMEX, the crypto exchange’s former head of development pleaded guilty to failing to put compliance programs in place.
Gregory Dwyer, 39, of Australia and Bermuda, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Bank Secrecy Act, after three BitMEX co-founders pleaded guilty earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (Aug. 8). All four were charged in 2020.
Prosecutors said BitMEX made only minimal efforts to stop customers in the U.S. from signing up after its withdrawal from the market in 2015, and the exchange had no anti-money laundering (AML) or know your customer (KYC) programs, according to the report.
In a Department of Justice press release Monday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said, “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.”
PYMNTS reported in May that a federal judge sentenced the former CEO of BitMEX, Arthur Hayes, to two years’ probation and six months of house arrest for years of all but ignoring requirements to collect and document customers’ personal identity information, which is required to comply with AML and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) laws.
The Department of Justice had asked for six to 12 years in prison.
A report released in February found that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had brought 20 lawsuits and administrative proceedings for cryptocurrency-related violations since President Joe Biden’s team was hired at the agency a year earlier.
Researchers said that at the close of 2021, the SEC had imposed $2.35 billion in fines against digital asset service companies. Of the 20 crypto enforcement actions, 14 were litigated in federal courts and six were resolved within the SEC.
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