One of the co-founders of the embattled digital currency derivatives exchange BitMEX has surrendered to U.S. authorities. Benjamin Delo appeared before a New York judge and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
The British computer programmer traveled from the U.K. to surrender to American authorities, after his legal team engaged in negotiations with U.S. attorney Jessica Greenwood over his surrender. According to transcripts of a court teleconference, the attorney was working with the FBI and Border Patrol to make the surrender possible.
On 3/15/21, Ben Delo pleaded not guilty, was released on $20,000,000 bond, permitted to travel to the UK and Bermuda, surrendered his Grenada passport and Hong Kong Identity Card but is permitted to retain his UK passport and executed a waiver of extradition. #BItMEX pic.twitter.com/438IdG4S8q
— Pavel Pogodin, Esq. (@ppogodin) March 16, 2021
As Bloomberg now reports, Delo appeared before Judge Sarah Cave of the Southern District of New York in a remote proceeding. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a $20 million bail bond. Under the terms of the bond, he can travel back to the U.K. and return to the U.S. only when called upon by the court.
Delo faces charges of operating an unregistered trading platform and violating the Bank Secrecy Act. The Justice Department claims that he, together with Arthur Hayes and Sam Reed, allowed U.S. citizens to use BitMEX without observing anti-money laundering laws. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also pressed similar charges, in addition to further violations under the Commodity Exchange Act.
Delo has maintained his innocence, terming the charges as an overreach by the U.S. government. Rachel Miller, a spokesperson for Delo, stated, “The charges against Ben are unfounded and represent unwarranted overreach by the U.S. authorities. Ben intends to defend himself against the charges and clear his name in court.”
Hayes, the former CEO, is expected to follow suit and surrender to U.S. authorities on April 1. Greenwood said Hayes will travel to Hawaii from Singapore where he is currently residing.
“The idea would be that he would appear initially in Hawaii, then appear before your Honor remotely, and then he would continue to reside abroad with travel to the United States for appearances as needed and, of course, if there is a trial, that he would appear within the United States for that trial in New York,” she told Judge Cave.
Greg Dwyer, the exchange’s first employee and yet another high-ranking executive, has declined to surrender. U.S. authorities revealed that he is currently residing in Bermuda and they are working to extradite him.
Sam Reed, one of the cofounders, was the first BitMEX executive that authorities arrested in Massachusetts on October 1. He was later released on a $5 million appearance bond.
The pursuit of the BitMEX executives by U.S. authorities is the clearest sign that the era of digital currency Wild West is behind us. For years, many exchanges and digital currency projects have been operating a ‘Crypto Crime Cartel’ that has flouted regulations at will. However, the reckoning has started and BitMEX is just the first domino to fall. It won’t be long before the likes of Binance, Blockstream, Kraken, Bitcoin.com and more fall.
Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups-from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.
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