Jesse Powell, the co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, is under investigation by federal law enforcement following allegations that he hacked and cyberstalked a non-profit organization he founded. This confirmation came after a report by The New York Times on Thursday shed light on the ongoing criminal probe.
The investigation focuses on the Verge Center for the Arts claims that Powell deliberately obstructed access to their computer accounts, impeding their ability to view emails and other messages. The Times cited three anonymous sources in its report. Agents searched Powell’s residence in Brentwood, located in Los Angeles’ Westside, where they seized electronic devices. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California have been investigating since at least the fall.
It’s important to note that Powell has not been charged with any crimes thus far. In a statement provided to CoinDesk, Brandon Fox, a lawyer from Jenner & Block, affirmed that Verge’s account was one-sided and failed to present the full context. Fox insisted that Powell had done nothing wrong and that the matter was unrelated to his employment or conduct in the cryptocurrency industry.
In a separate legal action last month, Powell filed a lawsuit against Verge in California Superior Court, asserting his ownership and rightful access to the email accounts. According to Fox, Powell remains a board member of Verge. However, a lawyer for Verge disputed Powell’s claims, as reported by The Times.
Powell, who co-founded Verge in 2007 with its headquarters in Sacramento, was removed from the organization’s board in 2022 after allegedly violating their guiding principles, according to The Times.
Kraken, the cryptocurrency exchange with which Powell is affiliated, stated CoinDesk, acknowledging its awareness of the civil dispute, investigation, and search warrants. The spokesperson clarified that Kraken itself is not part of the investigation, as confirmed by the U.S. Attorney, and that the investigation does not pertain to Powell’s affiliation with Kraken.
The investigation into Jesse Powell’s alleged hacking and cyberstalking activities against the Verge Center for the Arts continues, with further developments expected to shed light on the matter in the coming weeks.