The popular U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, Kraken, has been reportedly served with a lawsuit against it from a former employee. The case is brought by a whistleblower accusing the company of harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and even lack of paying rent.
Kraken Sued By A Former Employee
Kraken’s former employee, Nathan Runyon, has filed a lawsuit on November 26th against his former employers. Some of the accusations appear extremely serious, including disappearing customer funds, stock option shenanigans, and sanction violations. Moreover, Runyon says that the company fired him because he brought those issues up.
According to a summarized version of the lawsuit, the plaintiff started working at Kraken as a financial analyst in March 2018, directly under the CFO – Kaiser Ng. A few days later, Runyon received his first assignment from his boss, which allegedly read “come up with anything for the audit list that would satisfy the questions without regard to how accurate the info was.”
Later, Runyon had noticed that Kraken is operating in many countries that were sanctioned by the U.S., and working with them was illegal. After bringing up the subject “multiple times” to Kraken’s compliance officer, he had to drop it, as he saw no changes in this manner.
A year after he started working for the company, Runyon received another task to reconcile Kraken’s customer account balances with the bank balances, in several currencies. Apparently, he noticed that Kraken’s bank accounts had millions of dollars less than the total customer funds the company should have in possession by now. When he went to Ng with this information, he was reportedly removed from the project.
Stock Issues and Unpaid Rent
As of April this year, Runyon was working in a different section in the company’s internal equity management team, where employees can run their stock options and transfer shares. He noticed several issues with the stock options grant vesting schedules of two employees. When ultimately kept bringing it up to Ng, he was repeatedly told to “stop worrying about it,” and that he couldn’t do anything without written approval.
Runyon asked for a few days off from his paid vacation days, as he supposedly hadn’t taken any after a year of employment. On the first day of leave, Ng fired him over chat. More importantly, Runyon claims that he was fired just nine days after he spoke with Ng about the stock options issues. He blames the company for wrongful termination and discrimination against him as a disabled Marine Corps veteran.
It’s also worth noting another interesting point from the case. The plaintiff says that in his early days, his boss asked if he could use Runyon’s home address as his own for legal, banking, and licensing documents. Ng said that this is for his family’s safety, as he had heard of kidnappings in the crypto industry. Moreover, he offered to pay Runyon $1,600 per month for rent, but never paid it. In fact, Ng actually told Runyon that Jesse Powell, the co-founder, and CEO of Kraken, had done the same thing to him. Runyon’s lawsuit also includes the lack of rent payment.
While there hasn’t been an official response yet, the summarized version of the lawsuit reads that the company’s attorney has already signed a notice of acknowledgment, meaning that it’s active. Additionally, a spoke person has reportedly sent an email back, saying that they cannot comment on pending legal matters.
However, it’s worth saying that none of the allegations above have been proven yet, and it would be interesting to follow the upcoming news from the case.