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Australian bitcoin mogul agrees to US extradition over BitMEX scandal

An Australian bitcoin mogul has agreed to extradition to the United States from Bermuda to face criminal charges over alleged breaches of US banking and money laundering laws, while working at cryptocurrency trading house BitMEX.

Lawyers for Sydney-born Gregory Dwyer told a Bermudan magistrates court yesterday that his client had agreed to the extradition request made by US authorities, Bermudan newspaper The Royal Gazette reports.

Greg Dwyer and Arthur Hayes

Greg Dwyer and Arthur HayesCredit:Mark Stehle, Business Insider

Mr Dwyer, who grew up in Gordon on Sydney’s north shore and graduated from the prestigious boys’ school St Ignatius Riverview, will remain in Bermuda on bail until a local magistrate agrees to the extradition request.

US authorities made the extradition request after the Department of Justice was unable to negotiate Mr Dwyer’s surrender, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald can reveal.

A spokesman for Mr Dwyer told this masthead after the hearing that Mr Dwyer was still intending to defend the charges.

“Mr Dwyer continues to work with the government to ensure a smooth process for his appearance in New York and has every intention of defending himself against these meritless charges,” the spokesman said.

Mr Dwyer was the first employee of trading platform BitMEX, which blasted onto the cryptocurrency scene about five years ago and quickly grew into one of the biggest players in the sector, estimated to be worth $US3 billion ($4 billion) and handling trades with a total end value of $US986 billion a year.

But that success would be crimped when the group was accused by US regulators of operating a “platform for money laundering” that operated in “the shadows of the financial markets”.

As first revealed by the Age and Herald this year, Mr Dwyer and the three co-founders of BitMEX –Arthur Hayes, Sam Reed and Ben Delo – have been accused by US authorities of deliberately and wilfully breaching money laundering laws including knowingly accepting fake passports by traders from Iran, breaching US sanctions and allowing crime gangs to launder money through its platform. The four men face five years in jail if found guilty.

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