One of the top executives at digital currency derivatives exchanges, BitMEX, has managed to buy more time before the start of his trial. Greg Dwyer argued that he hadn’t had enough time to prepare for the trial as he has been fighting extradition from his home in Bermuda to the United States.
Dwyer is one of the four leaders at BitMEX charged by U.S. authorities over allegedly breaking anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations knowingly while in charge of the exchange. These charges have been settled, but the U.S. Department of Justice is still pursuing the four for violating the Bank Secrecy Act.
Dwyer was the head of operations at BitMEX. Being the first employee that the exchange founders ever hired, he was very influential in the decisions and actions the exchange took and was allegedly fully knowledgeable of the illegal processes the exchange was undertaking.
The Sydney, Australia-born man has been charged alongside the three BitMEX founders Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, and Samuel Reed. The three have already surrendered to U.S. authorities and stand to face up to five years behind bars if they are convicted.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, lawyers for Dwyer argued that he hadn’t had as much time to prepare for the trial as the other three. He was focused on fighting extradition from Bermuda to the U.S., an attempt that wasn’t successful in the end.
“The defendant will have had substantially less time than the other defendants to prepare for trial and would be prejudiced by the lack of time to prepare for this complex case,” Dwyer’s lawyers said.
U.S. District Judge John Koeltl agreed to the request to delay his trial, the outlet reports. The trial for the other three will proceed months earlier than Dwyer’s, which is scheduled to start in October next year.
Damian Lewis, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who is prosecuting the four, fought against the delay but ultimately lost. Damian argued that Dwyer had known the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was investigating him for over two years.
“While Dwyer will have less time to prepare than his co-defendants had, Dwyer has been aware of investigations into BitMEX since at least April 2019, when he answered extensive questions from the CFTC under oath, and he has been specifically aware of the charges in the Indictment for the same amount of time as his co-defendants,” the prosecutor argued.
He further claimed that Dwyer would have had just as much time to prepare for the trial had he surrendered himself to U.S. authorities earlier like the others did, an opportunity which he was offered but declined.
Damian argues that holding the trial of the three founders before Dwyer’s will give the Aussie an unfair advantage as he will already have known the evidence that the prosecutors plan to use against him.
BitMEX has already settled with the CFTC and FinCEN for its failure to implement all the required AML and KYC procedures. In August this year, the exchange agreed to pay $100 million in fines and penalties to the two regulators. This was the largest penalty imposed on a digital currency firm in the U.S. since 2017 when a court imposed a $110 million fine on the now-defunct Chinese exchange BTC-e. BitMEX also pledged to cease serving U.S. clients.
However, the justice department is unrelenting in its pursuit of justice over its violation of the Bank Secrecy Act. And while the settlement with the CFTC was great for the exchange, it landed them in more trouble as part of the settlement stipulated that BitMEX would share loads of corporate records with prosecutors.
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