The three co-founders of the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX), a crypto derivatives trading platform, have been ordered to pay US$30 million for violating U.S. derivatives laws and anti-money laundering rules.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo and Samuel Reed, who co-founded BitMEX, are each required to pay US$10 million under consent orders entered in the U.S. district court for the Southern District of New York.
The orders follow a complaint brought by the CFTC in 2020 against BitMEX and its founders alleging they unlawfully allowed U.S. customers to trade crypto assets, including derivatives on Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin. Last year, the regulator settled with the company, which agreed to pay a US$100-million penalty, among other sanctions.
The three co-founders were sanctioned for failing to adopt controls to prevent the platform’s violations of derivatives laws and AML rules.
In a parallel criminal action, the trio also pled guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. They are slated to be sentenced in that case in the coming weeks.
“As digital asset markets grow globally, the commission continues to actively use its existing enforcement authority in the digital asset commodity space to protect customers and ensure these emerging markets are free from fraud and manipulation,” said CFTC chairman Rostin Behnam in a release.
“Individuals who control cryptocurrency derivatives trading platforms conducting business in the U.S. must ensure that their platform complies with applicable federal commodities laws, including CFTC registration and regulatory requirements such as know-your-customer and anti-money laundering regulations,” added the CFTC’s acting director of enforcement, Gretchen Lowe.