BitMEX Sued for $3.4 Million by Former CEO in Breach of Contract

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
BitMEX Sued for $3.4 Million by Former CEO in Breach of Contract
Photo: BitMEX Blog

Former BitMEX CEO said that he was wrongly accused of misuse of $230,000 in funds during his relocation from Hong Kong to Singapore, and further to Germany.

Alexander Hoeptner, former CEO of crypto exchange BitMEX, ousted recently has decided to sue the exchange for $3.4 million for breach of contract and wrongful termination.

Hoeptner joined the Seychelles-based BitMEX crypto exchange earlier last year on January 21. Back then, some top officials of HDR Global Trading Limited, the operator of BitMEX, were facing a lawsuit for facilitating unregistered trading.

Hoeptner has filed a lawsuit in Singapore High Court alleging that BitMEX conducted a “baseless” internal investigation against him to avoid paying out millions of dollars in salary and bonuses. The investigation basically focused on his relocation from Hong Kong to Singapore, and further to Germany. Later they accused Hoeptner of the misappropriate use of company funds and used it as the basis for ousting him from the company.

In the lawsuit, lawyers representing Hoeptner called BitMEX’s accusations “entirely without basis”. Thus, they have demanded $3.4 million from BitMEX along with damages. This figure also comprises a $2.4 million “second-anniversary bonus,” wages, and housing and education allowances.

Höptner’s legal representatives – Kelvin Chia Partnership – filed the claim in the Singapore High Court. In an emailed statement to The Block, Hoeptner noted:

“I always acted in the best interests of the company during my tenure. I put my personal and family lives on hold in order to be on the ground in Singapore and Hong Kong. I’m disappointed that it has gotten to the point that legal proceedings are necessary, but I’ve been left with no choice.”

A BitMEX spokesperson has denied commenting since the matter is pending before the Singapore Court. However, the exchange noted that they would be defending the claims “vigorously”.

Claims of Cost Cutting

In the period between July and September, former BitMEX CEO Alexander Hoeptner was informed that co-founders Reed and Hayes were looking into the money he had spent during re-locating. On October 20, BitMEX wrote a termination letter to Hoeptner.

In the letter, BitMEX noted that Hoeptner misused his position “to dishonestly misappropriate some $230,000 of the Group’s funds to fund his personal and unauthorized relocation from Hong Kong to Germany”. Due to these allegations, BitMEX said that Hoeptner is no longer eligible for any further payments.

Two months ago, Reed also informed Hopetner that the issue of his expenses arose as the company was looking for an “extensive cost-cutting and restructuring program which involved numerous lay-offs,” the claim notes.

“I was hired to scale the company, and in partnership with the board, we did. We had made a lot of progress which made my wrongful termination a massive surprise. The founders always saw me and my team as caretakers in my opinion. They expected us to manage the company until they found some way to return,” noted Hoeptner.

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