BitMEX Co-Founder Delo Gets 30 Months Probation, Avoids Jail Time

BitMEX co-founder Ben Delo will carry out his sentence of 30 months of probation without being confined at home


key takeaways

  • Delo, along with Hayes, agreed to settle with the DOJ and CFTC and agreed to pay a $10 million fine in February
  • The co-founder has now resolved all regulatory cases relating to BitMEX, according to the law firm representing Delo

BitMEX co-founder Benjamin Delo has received 30 months on probation without home confinement following charges over his role in violating the US Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

Delo, along with BitMEX founder Arthur Hayes, pleaded guilty to charges earlier this year by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which accused the pair of “willfully failing” to implement anti-money laundering measures at the exchange.

The case against the founders initially began two years ago when the DOJ accused Delo, Hayes and BitMEX’s first official employee Greg Dwyer of operating a “money-laundering platform” from September 2015 through to September 2020.

The exchange’s failure to implement AML and Know-Your-Customer programs were central to the department’s argument in the case for their violations of the BSA.

BSA violations carry a maximum sentence of five years, had the case gone to trial, but the pair were able to reach a plea agreement where the DOJ pushed for a 6-12 month prison sentence.

In a parallel civil case filed in February with the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission, both Hayes and Delo agreed to pay a $10 million fine, which also formed part of the agreement with the DOJ. For his involvement, Hayes previously received a six months sentence of home detention and two years of probation.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the New York-based law firm Smith Villazor LLP — representing Delo — said they were pleased the court rejected the government’s “cynical attempt to exaggerate the seriousness” of the BSA charge.

“Today’s sentence of probation recognized that this case involved a compliance lapse that led to a regulatory violation and nothing more,” the spokesperson said. “The government’s campaign — both in the courtroom and in the press — to malign Ben with highly inflammatory and misleading language concerning Ben’s conduct gained no traction with the court.”

Together with the recent settlement with the CFTC, Delo has now resolved all regulatory cases relating to BitMEX, the spokesperson said.

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