Guests served sushi off half-naked models at party of crypto firm chaired by Philip Hammond

27 March 2024, 11:59 | Updated: 27 March 2024, 12:10

Hammond, who had been an adviser to Copper, was made chairman in 2023
Philip Hammond, the former Chancellor, was made chairman in 2023. Picture: Google Maps/Getty Images

By Flaminia Luck

A cryptocurrency firm - chaired by former Chancellor Philip Hammond - served guests sushi from the bodies of scantily clad models, new images show.

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Following publication of the images in the Financial Times, questions have been asked about the culture of the company named Copper Technologies and of the wider industry.

The digital asset company held the private party at the five-star Mandrake hotel in London after a crypto industry conference last week.

In a dining room lit up with red light, two models appear to be wearing thin bodysuits lay on a table with sushi on their partially naked bodies.

Copper Technologies was founded in 2018 and is based in Switzerland
Copper Technologies was founded in 2018 and is based in Switzerland. Picture: Copper Technologies Website

An invitation to event reads: “Transcend the ordinary at the Copper experience,” adding "attendees will be able to entertain and explore all five senses.”

A person close to Copper said the models were a man and woman and were “wearing swimming costumes”, adding that it was “a lot of razzle dazzle . . . more performative art rather than anything seedy”.

Hammond did not attend, the person added.

Philip Hammond was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 2016-2019
Philip Hammond was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 2016-2019. Picture: Alamy

According to its website, Copper is a Swiss-based company founded in 2018 by Dimitry Tokarev. Tokarev is a former chief technology officer at wealth manager Dolfin Financial, which collapsed in 2021 after a Financial Conduct Authority probe.

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Earlier this month, the Guardian reported the firm transferred digital assets worth more than $4.2m to a crypto wallet belonging to a member of an alleged Russian arms-dealing network who was later sanctioned by the US.

The newspaper reported that an analysis of crypto records showed a connection between one of the most prominent cryptocurrency companies and Jonatan Zimenkov, an Israeli-born Russian national.

Zimenkov, 29, was subjected to US sanctions in February 2023 for allegedly assisting the Russian military with the invasion of Ukraine.

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Allegations against the industry, largely male-dominated, crypto industry have been made since the digital currency began to take off.

Scandals have included lack of governance, inappropriate behaviour and rampant misogyny.

A senior Copper employee said having scantily clad people was “not the typical party set-up”. The person added: “Crypto is getting a lot more civilised, so that’s not really the style.”

Philip Hammond has also been approached for comment.