HONG KONG, Oct 8 (Reuters)Top executives at BitMEX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges, will step back from their roles, the company said on Thursday, a week after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges against them.

The company said last week it would “vigorously” fight the allegations after the U.S Department of Justice charged the exchange’s three founders, Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed and Benjamin Delo with violating the federal Bank Secrecy Act. Gregory Dwyer, its first employee, was also charged.

Prosecutors said BitMEX had made itself a “vehicle” for money laundering and sanctions violations.

BitMEX said Hayes and Reed have “stepped back from all executive management responsibilities for their respective CEO and CTO roles with immediate effect,” adding they and Delo would not hold executive positions and that Dwyer would take a leave of absence from his role as head of business development.

Chief Operating Officer Vivien Khoo, will take over as chief executive. She previously held roles at Goldman Sachs and Hong Kong’s markets watchdog.

The statement said the management changes had been made with the “full approval” of the founders.

“These changes to our executive leadership mean we can focus on our core business of offering superior trading opportunities for all our clients,” David Wong, chairman of 100x Group, BitMEX’s parent, said in the statement.

Hayes and Delo did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent via their social media profiles and Reed could not be reached for comment. Dwyer’s lawyer, Sean Hecker, who earlier said his client would contest the charges, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

BitMEX is one of the world’s largest bitcoin futures trading platforms, popular for its high liquidity and compliance requirements that are seen as less onerous than those for futures venues regulated in

By Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Purdue Pharma LP, the OxyContin maker controlled by members of the wealthy Sackler family, is nearing an agreement to plead guilty to criminal charges as part of a broader deal to resolve U.S. Justice Department probes into its alleged role in fueling the nation’s opioid crisis, six people familiar with the matter said.

Purdue lawyers and federal prosecutors are brokering a plea deal that could be unveiled as soon as within the next two weeks and include billions of dollars of financial penalties, four of the people said. They stressed that talks are fluid and that some of the terms could change as discussions continue.

In addition to the criminal case, U.S. prosecutors are negotiating a settlement of civil claims also carrying a financial penalty that allege unlawful conduct in Purdue’s handling of prescription painkillers, they said.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company is expected to face penalties exceeding $8 billion. They consist of a roughly $3.54 billion criminal fine, $2 billion criminal forfeiture and $2.8 billion civil penalty, some of the people familiar with the negotiations said.

They are unlikely to be paid in the near term as the criminal fine and civil penalty are expected to be considered alongside other claims in Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings and the company lacks necessary funds to fully repay all creditors.

The tentative agreement would draw a line under Purdue’s criminal exposure for what prosecutors and state attorneys general have described as aggressive marketing of a highly-addictive painkiller that minimized the drug’s potential for abuse and overdosing.

Over the years, Purdue reaped billions of dollars in profits from its opioids, enriching Sackler family members and funneling illegal kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies, federal prosecutors and state attorneys general have alleged. The company now faces thousands

KEY POINTS

  • BitMEX’s CEO Arthur Hayes and three others were charged with violation of the Bank Secrecy Act
  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleged the company executed derivatives transactions on an unregistered board
  • FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said the four defendants willfully evaded anti-money laundering requirements

Authorities have filed charges against the owners of derivatives cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX for allowing money laundering to thrive on the platform.

BitMEX’s CEO Arthur Hayes, company executives Samuel Reed and  Ben Delo, and its first employee Gergory Dwyer were charged with violation of the Bank Secrecy Act and conspiring to violate the act, the Department of Justice announced Thursday. 

Reed was arrested in Massachusetts while the others were still at large, said the New York Times.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) alleged that the Hong Kong-based company executed derivatives transactions such as futures and options on an unregistered board. The regulator accused the company of failing to implement strict anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) features, which made Bitmex available as a vehicle for money laundering and sanctions violations, the indictment stated.

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said the four defendants willfully violated the Bank Secrecy Act by evading U.S. anti-money laundering requirements. The DOJ alleged that BitMEX and the founders knew too well that they were servicing U.S. customers but chose not to implement the AML and KYC requirements. Even if some measures were put in place to prevent U.S. customers from accessing the website, these measures could easily be overridden by, for example, the use of VPN.  

“For example, the defendants caused BitMEX and its parent corporations formally to incorporate in the Seychelles, a jurisdiction they believed had less stringent regulation and from which they could still serve U.S. customers without performing AML and KYC,” the

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