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Cryptocurrency executive agrees to extradition to face US banking law charges

Gregory Dwyer (File photograph)

An Australian cryptocurrency executive living in Bermuda yesterday agreed to be extradited to the United States to face alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws.

Magistrates’ Court heard that Gregory Dwyer, a senior employee at the cryptocurrency derivative exchange platform BitMEX, will be extradited if the request is approved by Rena Lalgie, the Governor.

Arrangements will made to send Mr Dwyer overseas if his extradition is approved.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo extended Mr Dwyer’s $20,000 bail.

A spokesman for Mr Dwyer said: “Mr. Dwyer continues to work with the government to ensure a smooth process for his appearance in New York and has every intention of defending himself against these meritless charges.”

Mr Dwyer was charged on October 1 last year with violation of the US Bank Secrecy Act and conspiracy to violate the Bank Secrecy Act.

The Act requires financial institutions to assist the US Government in combating money laundering schemes.

Magistrates’ Court heard on July 1 that the District Court for the Southern District of New York had requested that Mr Dwyer be extradited to the US to face the charges.

But Jerome Lynch, representing Mr Dwyer, requested an extradition hearing on behalf of his client.

The US Justice Department indictment filed against Mr Dwyer and colleagues Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo and Samuel Reed alleged that the men “wilfully failed to establish, implement and maintain an adequate anti-money laundering programme, including an adequate customer identification programme, more commonly referred to as a know your customer programme”.

The indictment alleged the BitMEX exchange was used by hackers to launder stolen money and by people in countries under US sanctions, including Iran.

It also claimed the company solicited and accepted customers in the US, despite not being registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

It is also alleged the company continued to try and attract US business after it incorporated itself in the Seychelles in an attempt to avoid US oversight.

BitMEX last year denied the allegations and insisted it had “always sought to comply with applicable US laws, as those laws were understood at the time and based on available guidance”.

Mr Dwyer and the three other men resigned from their roles at BitMEX and at sister company, 100x Group, last October.

Mr Reed, the chief technology officer of BitMEX, was arrested on October 6 last year. He has since been released on $5 million bail.

Mr Hayes, who was based in Singapore and is chief executive officer of the company, turned himself in to authorities on April 6. He is at present on $10 million bail.

Mr Delo, the UK’s first billionaire from cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the country’s youngest self-made billionaire, also turned himself in to authorities on March 15 and was released on $20 million bail.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Sydney Morning Herald, a newspaper in Australia, said the four men could face five years in jail if convicted.

BitMEX was launched in 2014 as a platform for exchanging cryptocurrencies derivatives, which allows traders to make money off the performance of digital currencies.

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