Alexander Höptner, the former CEO of Bitmex, today filed a $3.4 million lawsuit against the crypto exchange operator for wrongful termination and breach of contract.
Bitmex withheld salaries and wages after it fired Höptner, accusing him of spending company funds to finance a move from Singapore to Germany. Alexander Höptner, who was recently fired from crypto exchange Bitmex, has filed a $3.4 million lawsuit against his employer for wrongful termination and breach of contract.
Höptner’s complaint in the Singapore High Court today alleges that Bitmex conducted an “unreasonable” internal investigation against him to avoid paying millions of dollars in compensation. The investigation focused on his move from Hong Kong to Singapore and Germany, and concluded that he was defrauding the company’s finances to support the move – which was the basis for the alleged dismissal at the end of October.
In the statement, Höptner’s lawyers called the company’s allegations “baseless” and said he owed Bitmex $3.4 million, plus damages. This figure includes a “second anniversary fee” of $2.4 million, salary, and housing and tuition fees.
Kelvin Chia Partnership, Höptner’s legal representatives filed the case in the General Division of the High Court of the Republic of Singapore against Three Fins Pte Ltd., the Singaporean subsidiary of HDR Global Ltd., a US registered company.
Seychelles behind Bitmex. “I have always acted in the best interest of the company during my career,” Höptner told The Block in an email. “I put my personal life and that of my family on the ground in Singapore and Hong Kong. I’m disappointed that it’s gotten to the point where a lawsuit is necessary, but I have no choice.
A court date has been set for January 25. A Bitmex spokesperson said, “As the case is pending in the Singapore court, we cannot comment definitively at this time. We will respond to Alexander Höptner’s statement at home judgment.(which is the proper forum). Needless to say, we will defend that claim vigorously.
Going Through The Process
Höptner is a commercial lawyer who earlier in his career spent more than 12 years at Deutsche Börse and served as CEO of Börse Stuttgart and Euwax AG. He joined Bitmex in January 2021, just three months after the Department of Justice and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission filed charges against Bitmex and its sponsors for operating on an unregistered trading platform.
In August 2021, the exchange operator said it would pay $100 million to settle charges brought by the CFTC and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen). Its former CEO Arthur Hayes and co-conspirators Benjamin Delo and Sam Reed later paid $10 million each in separate settlements, after pleading guilty to violating bank secrecy laws. Höptner was tasked with rebuilding the exchange that once dominated the crypto market. It has adopted a “more systematic” strategy aimed at expanding the Bitmex industry to include spot markets and holding products.
Perhaps the defining moment of his time with Bitmex is the desperate attempt to acquire Bankhaus von der Heydt, a 268-year-old German bank. The acquisition was announced in January this year, but it is subject to the approval of BaFin, the German regulator. The two parties mutually agreed to abandon the acquisition in March. A week later, The Block revealed that Bitmex had laid off 75 employees, about a quarter of its global workforce at the time. More layoffs were announced in November, shortly after Höptner’s departure.
Höptner was told between July and September that Bitmex colleagues Hayes and Reed were investigating his spending on the trip, according to the statement. It was officially announced that Bitmex was reviewing its spending at the end of September.
On Oct. On February 20, Bitmex told Höptner in a letter that he had been “terminated for cause” after the investigation concluded that he used his position as CEO “to fraudulently embezzle approximately $230,000 from the group’s funds to support himself and without permission from Hong Kong. to Germany.” As a result of this charge, Bitmex informed Höptner that it no longer has the right to make payments.
Höptner’s lawyers allegedly said his relocation plan was discussed “in various meetings” attended by Hayes and other executives and approved at the time.
He also offered to pay his own relocation expenses, according to the statement, and has repaid $80,000 of a total of $230,000 taken between March and September of this year, according to the filing.