BitMEX has briefly responded to the CFTC and DoJ allegations that the crypto exchange and its operatives flouted their obligation to implement AML and KYC procedures as they served US customers.
In an official response to the FBI’s indictment of its top executives, as well as a separate civil lawsuit filed by the CFTC, BitMEX said it will contest the charges, adding that they did nothing wrong as they have never targeted investors in the US.
“We strongly disagree with the U.S. government’s heavy-handed decision to bring these charges, and intend to defend the allegations vigorously. From our early days as a start-up, we have always sought to comply with applicable U.S. laws, as those laws were understood at the time and based on available guidance,” the crypto-derivatives exchange said.
To diminish any potential customer panic, BitMEX assured users it is operating ‘entirely’ as normal and all funds are safe. Additionally, it confirmed that all pending withdrawal requests were processed on time and to dissipate any concerns it will process another off-cycle withdrawal.
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The US authorities claim BitMEX served US customers while flouting the nation’s banking laws. The popular bitcoin futures platform defended itself explaining that while Americans cannot access its trading services through IP addresses based in the US, some users may have masked their actual identities through virtual private networks, or VPNs, to disguise their locations.
Although BitMEX says it banned all US traders since 2015, a multi-million fine could be in the cards and each of today’s counts carries up to five-year prison term.
Federal prosecutors further stated that a handful of serious crimes lie beneath BitMEX’s cheery front including that it played a role in laundering funds obtained from a cryptocurrency hack. Furthermore, they filed criminal charges accusing the Hong Kong-based company of allowing users from restricted jurisdictions, such as Iran, to trade on the platform.
“Thanks to the diligent work of our agents, analysts, and partners with the CFTC, they will soon learn the price of their alleged crimes will not be paid with tropical fruit, but rather could result in fines, restitution, and federal prison time,” FBI Assistant Director, William Sweeney said in a statement.