FBI Searched Kraken Founder Jesse Powell’s House Over Stalking Claims, Report Says


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Jesse Powell—the founder and former CEO of crypto exchange Kraken—had his home searched by the FBI earlier this year as part of a hacking and stalking investigation involving a nonprofit, according to the New York Times, making him the latest high-profile cryptocurrency figure to face federal scrutiny.

Key Facts

Electronic devices were seized by the FBI during the search of Powell’s Los Angeles home, the Times reported, citing multiple unnamed sources.

Federal officials have spent months investigating whether Powell interfered with computer accounts and cut off email access for a nonprofit he founded, according to Times reporters. The nonprofit, an arts group named Verge Center for the Arts, reportedly removed Powell from its board of directors last year for failing to attend meetings and breaching the organization’s principles.

In a letter seen by the Times that was sent to Kraken by Verge’s lawyer last year, the nonprofit accused Powell of accessing confidential information from the nonprofit’s accounts and blocking it from using email services and its website.

Although Powell has not been formally accused of any crimes, he has been under investigation by federal prosecutors, Powell’s lawyer told the Times, adding the probe is unrelated to “Mr. Powell’s employment or his conduct in the cryptocurrency arena.”

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Key Background

Powell fired back against Verge last month in a lawsuit alleging his removal from the nonprofit’s board was unjustified, adding that he owned the digital accounts linked to Verge. Powell’s company, Kraken, has dealt with separate legal battles including a wrongful termination lawsuit, a $362,000 settlement with the Treasury over violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran, and a $30 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that forced the company to cease offering cryptocurrency “staking” services to U.S. customers. Powell stepped down from Kraken last year, becoming the exchange’s first chairman of the board.


Powell is one of multiple crypto executives who have faced pressure from the federal government, even though the investigation into him is apparently unrelated to crypto. In April, FTX executive Ryan Salame had his home searched in an investigation involving top executives at FTX that included the firm’s founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. The founder was arrested months ago for securities fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and other federal charges to which he has pleaded not guilty. Bankman-Fried is still awaiting trial. Meanwhile, the SEC filed civil suits against crypto exchanges Coinbase and Binance for allegedly skirting U.S. licensing rules, part of a broader federal crypto crackdown.

Further Reading

F.B.I. Searched the Home of Crypto Exchange Founder (New York Times)

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell Is Stepping Down (Forbes)

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Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lamber is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes about arts, entertainment, lifestyle, and home news. Nicole has been a journalist for years and loves to write about what's going on in the world.

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