Former BitMEX chief Alexander Höptner sued his former employer for $3.4 million for breach of agreement and wrongful termination. This includes $2.4 million for his second-year bonus and smaller amounts for other salaries, relocation costs and housing.
The complaint, filed by the legal representatives of Höptner – Kelvin Chia Partnership – in the High Court of Singapore, alleges that BitMEX conducted an “unfounded” internal investigation against him to avoid payment of salaries and bonuses.
- The investigation in question is centered mainly on his several moves to Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany.
- The ousted CEO said he was accused of embezzling company funds. The record stated,
“No objections and/or concerns were raised as to the relocation of the Claimant and/or the costs which were to be incurred by the HDR Group in this respect.”
- However, Höptner was told by BitMEX that the company may not pay his second-year bonus or reimburse his relocation following an “extensive cost-cutting and restructuring program that involved numerous layoffs.”
- However, BitMEX co-founders Arthur Hayes and Samuel Reed allegedly launched an investigation into his expenses in late September, according to the court filing.
- The following month, the derivatives platform notified the executive of his dismissal in a letter citing the investigation accusing him of “dishonest misappropriation of approximately $230,000 of group funds to finance his personal and unauthorized relocation of Hong Kong to Germany”.
- These allegations disqualified Höptner from being entitled to any further payments.
- It was earlier reported that the executive resigned as CEO less than two years after replacing Hayes. His role was later filled by Stephan Lutz.
- CryptoPotato received comments on behalf of the former leader:
After being recruited at the end of 2020, in partnership with my management team and the board, I developed an aggressive strategy to scale and diversify the business. We were absolutely on the right track, which made the actions of the founders even more confusing to me. I honestly think that no matter how well my team and I delivered, the founders would always have found a way to reintegrate themselves into the day-to-day operations of the company.
Under the direction of the founders and the board of directors, I put my life on hold to move several times according to the needs of the company. I’m disappointed that it got to the point that legal action was necessary, but I had no choice.