This week brought a lot of big news, but the one that blew everyone away was the latest news on the BitMEX case. After much back-and-forth, BitMEX pled guilty and admitted to what it has been keeping a secret for long: that it had indeed violated the Bank Secrecy Act.

Related: BitMEX Review - Full overview of BitMEX crypto exchange

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, trying to clear up the air, explained that BitMEX was the architect of its destruction as it failed to implement and maintain a good enough anti-laundering program. The officials at BitMEX knew about this and thought it was no big deal.

Damian Williams, U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also confirmed this reckless behaviour from BitMEX, reminding us that the founders and long-time employees of the crypto derivative company already admitted in a federal court in 2022 that the company operated in the US without any meaningful anti-laundering program put in place as required by federal law.

But this is not even the beginning of BitMEX’s legal troubles. The company has been in legal trouble since at least 2022. The company’s employees have also gotten some of the heat. Arthur Hayes, one of the founders at BitMEX, was the first to get some after he was sentenced to six months of home detention earlier in 2022.

Prosecutors also appealed to the court in 2022 to sentence Greg Dwyer, the former head of business development at BitMEX, to 12 months of probation for violating the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act. 

Doubling down on BitMEX’s complicity, Williams also mentioned:

BitMEX opened itself up as a vehicle for large-scale money laundering and sanctions evasion schemes, posing a serious threat to the integrity of the financial system.

In a very Batman-like fashion, Williams also mentioned that:

Today’s guilty plea indicates again the need for cryptocurrency companies to comply with U.S. law if they take advantage of the U.S. market.
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But in all truth, BitMEX has taken advantage of the U.S. market. Since its founding in 2014, the company has serviced and solicited business from U.S. traders and operated through US offices. Despite the requirement for BitMEX to register with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and establish an adequate Anti-money laundering program, the company seemed to focus on the money-making aspect while ignoring that last bit about an AML program.

Well, as they say, “You can choose your actions but not the consequences.” BitMEX has now pled guilty to one count of “violating the Bank Secrecy Act,” which could carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison along with a fine. But crypto companies facing the wrath of the law are not even news anymore. Changpeng Zhao is perhaps the biggest example after pleading guilty to failing to implement appropriate anti-money laundering protocols at Binance.

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It seems the law is slowly creeping up on crypto and cracking down on any deficiencies. Every other crypto company should learn from these lessons. If they can catch the big guys, then no one is safe. 

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