Australian bitcoin mogul remains at large after surrender of boss
An Australian bitcoin mogul wanted in the US over allegations he conspired to break US banking and money laundering laws remains at large after the surrender of the group’s high profile founder and chief executive Arthur Hayes last week.
US lawyers for BitMEX senior employee Greg Dwyer confirmed he is yet to broker a deal to hand himself into US authorities which charged him and the three founders, including Mr Hayes, six months ago.
Last month, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald revealed the 37-year-old maths whiz from the Sydney suburb of Gordon and graduate of the prestigious St Ignatius College, Riverview was at the centre of the biggest cryptocurrency scandal in the world.
Mr Dwyer and the three founders have also been named in a lawsuit in California that alleges BitMEX went to extraordinary lengths to avoid its own losses, including allegedly confiscating customers’ money, closing out customer positions and faking a hardware outage during a massive rout on the price of bitcoin in early 2020. The claimant, a BitMEX customer, is seeking $US50 million ($66 million) and the return of bitcoins worth $US5 million.
The US Department of Justice has accused Bermuda-based Mr Dwyer, Mr Hayes and the two other founders of the group Sam Reed and Ben Delo, of deliberately and wilfully breaching money laundering laws including knowingly accepting fake passports by traders from Iran, breaching US sanctions and allowing crime gangs to launder money through its platform. The four men face five years in jail if found guilty. Mr Reed and Mr Delo are on bail and have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald confirmed Mr Dwyer’s position this week after recent news that Mr Hayes, who lives in Singapore, has made formal arrangements with US authorities to hand himself in after Easter in Hawaii to be immediately released on a bail of $US10 million. Mr Dwyer’s exact location is unclear, he was most recently a resident of Bermuda.
“We have been in touch with the government on this matter and Mr Dwyer has every intention to defend himself in court against these meritless charges,” said Jenna Dabbs, one of the US lawyers from firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP representing Mr Dwyer in the case.
His lawyers have also previously said Mr Dwyer was not responsible for setting up BitMEX’s AML program, and that he “always worked collaboratively with his colleagues, and in good faith, to comply with all applicable regulations and requirements”.