BitMEX’s Arthur Hayes proposes surrender to US authorities

Olga Kharif and Chris Dolmetsch | Bloomberg

Arthur Hayes, the former chief executive of crypto exchange BitMEX who is wanted by the U.S. government, proposed to surrender to authorities in Hawaii on April 6, according to a court filing.

Hayes is currently in Singapore, but has discussed surrendering in Hawaii and appearing remotely in a New York court, said Jessica Greenwood, assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan, according to a transcript of a Feb. 9 hearing. She said arrangements are under discussion that would allow Hayes to live abroad and to travel to the U.S. for court appearances. If there’s a trial, Hayes would come to New York, Greenwood said.

Hayes is among founders and executives of BitMEX who were charged last year with violations of the U.S. Secrecy Act “by willfully failing to establish, implement, and maintain an adequate anti-money laundering program” on the exchange.

“In so doing, they allegedly allowed BitMEX to operate as a platform in the shadows of the financial markets,” the authorities said.

Hayes, Benjamin Delo, Gregory Dwyer and Samuel Reed were charged in New York, where federal prosecutors claimed the exchange served American customers while flouting U.S. banking laws. Hayes said BitMEX was incorporated in the Seychelles because it could bribe authorities there for the cost of “just a coconut,” according to the indictment.

Reed was arrested in Massachusetts last year, and federal authorities are still rounding up the remaining defendants.

Since the case was made public, BitMEX has distanced itself from Hayes — he stepped down, and the firm reshuffled its executive ranks and appointed a new CEO. Still BitMEX, which at one time was the world’s largest exchange for cryptocurrency derivatives, is no longer even in the top five, according to tracker Skew.

Hayes didn’t return requests for comment. The office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

Copyright © 2021 Bloomberg

Photo courtesy BitMEX

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