Jesse Powell, co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, is being investigated by federal law enforcement following allegations that he hacked and cyberstalked the nonprofit he founded. This confirmation comes after a report by The New York Times on Thursday shed light on the ongoing criminal investigation.
The investigation focused on Verge Center for the Arts claims that Powell intentionally blocked access to their computer accounts, hindering their ability to view email and other messages. The Times cited three anonymous sources in its report. Agents searched Powell’s Brentwood residence, which is located on the Westside of Los Angeles, where they seized electronic devices. The FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California have been investigating since at least the fall.
It is important to note that Powell has not been charged with any crime so far. In a statement provided to CoinDesk, Brandon Fox, an attorney for Jenner & Block, asserted that Verge’s account was one-sided and failed to provide complete context. Fox insisted that Powell had done nothing wrong and that the matter was not related to his work or behavior in the cryptocurrency industry.
In a separate legal action last month, Powell filed a lawsuit against Verge in California Supreme Court, asserting his ownership of and lawful access to the email account. According to Fox, Powell remains a member of Verge’s board. However, Verge’s lawyers disputed Powell’s claims, as reported by The Times.
Powell, who co-founded Verge in 2007 with headquarters in Sacramento, was removed from the organization’s board in 2022 after allegedly violating their guiding principles, according to The Times.
Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange affiliated with Powell, stated CoinDesk, acknowledging its awareness of the civil dispute, investigation, and search warrant. The spokesperson clarified that Kraken itself was not part of the investigation, as US Attorneys confirmed, and that the investigation was not related to Powell’s affiliation with Kraken.
The investigation into Jesse Powell’s alleged hacking and cyberstalking activity against the Verge Center for the Arts continues, with further developments expected to shed light on this matter in the coming weeks.