BitMEX & Founders Sued Again for Market Manipulation, Racketeering, and Money-Laundering
BitMEX legal woes appear to be far from over after another lawsuit was filed against the crypto derivatives exchange. The lawsuit filed in a California court by a Romania resident Păun Gabriel-Razvan claims that BitMEX parent company, HDR Global Trading Limited, and its founders engaged in illegal activities, including market manipulation, racketeering, and money-laundering.
With the company’s former CEO Arthur Hayes still at large, it has been a couple of rough months for BitMEX since the DoJ and CFTC initiated lawsuits against the firm. The trend is now picking on an individual scale as more people seek to sue BitMEX for ‘alleged’ manipulation tactics through the exchange’s internal trading desk.
The New Lawsuit Against BitMEX
The lawsuit by Păun Gabriel-Razvan comes barely a month since a Moscow based resident filed a similar complaint by the name Dmitry Dolgov. Interestingly, both plaintiffs are being represented by the same counsel who goes by Pavel Pogodin; this attorney works at Consensus Law. The latest filing claims that BitMEX facilitated illegal finance activities by skipping crucial KYC and AML practices hence,
“Hackers, tax evaders, money launderers, smugglers, drug dealers all flocked to BitMEX flooding the platform with hot money,”
It goes to highlight that BitMEX directly benefited from market manipulation through its internal trading desk, giving the following example;
“A money launderer (Defendant) would open two exchange accounts – a helper account on one or more exchanges used by BitMEX to calculate its index price (Coinbase Pro, Kraken, and BitStamp) and a winner account on BitMEX.”
The court filing details,
“The money launderer would then enter into a large leveraged derivatives position on BitMEX and immediately execute market orders from the helper account with maximum slippage to move the index price in a favorable direction.”
According to Pogodin, who spoke to the Block, his client lost 247.94 BTC as a result of these malpractices. They are now seeking 3 times compensation, translating to around $12.8 million as per prevailing market prices. The suit also seeks punitive damages worth $50 million per California’s law coupled with attorney fees, costs, and interest on the defrauded Bitcoins. Pogodin further noted that more lawsuits against BitMEX would probably follow as more ‘victims’ are coming forward.
BitMEX to Fight the Issue in Court
However, BitMEX appears unbothered by Pogodin’s lawsuits against the firm, according to a spokesperson who shared sentiments with the Block. The spokesperson said that they will pursue the issue through litigation and are optimistic that the courts will rule in the favor,
“As we've said before, regrettably, Mr. Pogodin operates just like a patent troll, filing ‘copy and paste' complaints against us based on rehashed information culled from the internet.”