The co-founder and former CEO of the crypto derivatives platform BitMEX was sentenced to two years of probation, with the first six months to be spent in home confinement.
In late 2020, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) accused the company’s co-founders – Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo, and Samuel Reed – of operating a digital asset trading venue without implementing adequate anti-money laundering rules.
BitMEX had to pay a penalty of $100 million while the three co-founders stepped down. More recently, Hayes, through his lawyers, filed a request for leniency in his sentencing, which was scheduled for May 20.
Cited by Bloomberg, the sentencing became official yesterday, in which the US District Judge John Koeltl granted Hayes’ wish, and he will not head to prison. Instead, he got a two-year probation sentence and will have to spend the first six months in home confinement.
This came even after several US prosecutors argued that Hayes’ punishment should be more severe and should send a signal to the entire crypto industry. During yesterday’s hearing, Assistant US Attorney Samuel Raymond told the federal judge that this is a “very serious offense” and added:
“There were real consequences. When individuals like Mr. Hayes operate platforms without anti-money-laundering programs or know-your-customer programs, they become a magnet for people to launder money.”
The Assistant Attorney added that such a light sentence will “send a message to him that the cost of doing business is merely a fine, and he could continue to violate the law for huge amounts and pay any fine. This case is being closely watched by cryptocurrency exchanges and other companies around the world.”
On the other hand, Hayes took full responsibility for his actions and promised that he was “ready to turn the page and start again.”