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BitMex Founder’s ‘Coconut’ Bribery Claim Just a Joke, Judge Says

Arthur Hayes

Arthur Hayes

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

When BitMEX co-founder Arthur Hayes was accused in 2020 of allowing money laundering on the cryptocurrency exchange, prosecutors cited a joke he made about using a coconut to bribe officials in the Seychelles, where the company is based, as evidence of his desire to avoid regulation. 

But U.S. District Judge John Koeltl on Thursday blocked the government from presenting the “coconut” comment during the criminal trial of Hayes and other BitMEX executives in March.