Phillip Gillespie, former co-CEO of crypto trading firm B2C2, is caught up in allegations involving drug use and inappropriate relations with a young intern.
The claims against Gillespie emerged as part of a lawsuit filed in New Jersey by Bradley Nagela, the firm’s global head of options trading.
The 19-year old intern, reached by Bloomberg News, said she was “grateful” for the opportunity to work at B2C2. She said allegations in the lawsuit about her were not true. 3/ pic.twitter.com/37gNXpib2d
— Yueqi Yang (@Yueqi_Yang) September 20, 2023
Gillespie is accused of excessive substance consumption and freely distributing illicit drugs, including cocaine, to attendees of a Bitcoin conference last year. These allegations were brought to light by Nagela, who argued he was terminated from his position as a retaliatory measure for voicing concerns about Gillespie’s actions.
Gillespie, who relinquished his role as CEO of B2C2 last November, has dismissed these allegations as “unfounded” and emphasized that Nagela was not present at the aforementioned conference.
Behind the curtain: Personnel issues in crypto
The lawsuit serves as a revealing look into the internal conflicts affecting the cryptocurrency industry, which is currently navigating through market volatility and corporate failures. Moreover, the lawsuit adds another layer of scrutiny to the often frenzied and boisterous social scene that has come to define major crypto events.
Last year’s Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami attracted an international crowd of over 25,000 people, including high-profile figures including Michael Novogratz and Peter Thiel. The sheer number of after-parties led to the distribution of an Excel sheet to help attendees keep track of the festivities.
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The legal action took a particularly unsettling turn when it revealed that Nagela’s alarm escalated after an email surfaced from the intern’s father. The email questioned the legitimacy of an invitation for his 19-year-old daughter to travel from Thailand to Miami, voicing concerns that it may be related to illicit activities.
A Glimpse into B2C2’s Operations
Established in 2015, B2C2 operates out of London and is owned by Japanese conglomerate SBI Holdings Inc. The firm specializes in executing crypto trades for institutional clients and brokerages, including Robinhood Markets Inc.
Gillespie, before joining B2C2 in 2018, had a background in Wall Street, managing systematic market making in foreign exchange at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in London. He was recruited to B2C2 by its founder Max Boonen, who is also a Goldman Sachs alumnus.
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