The regulator sought the injunctions in order to protect investor funds while an investigation is continuing.
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has become the latest regulator to act against illicit trading activities related to cryptocurrencies. Earlier today, ASIC said it had obtained interim orders in the Federal Court of Australia against AGM Markets, OT Markets and Ozifin, The orders:
- restrain the entities from removing their assets from Australia, disposing of their property, and to freeze monies in two specified bank accounts; and
- preventing two individuals involved with AGM Markets and OT Markets from leaving Australia without the consent of the Court.
ASIC sought the injunctions to protect investor funds while an ASIC investigation is continuing. A hearing has been scheduled for February 15, 2018.
In addition, the regulator warns the public not to deal with any of the above-mentioned entities in relation to trading in margin FX contracts for difference (CFDs) and bitcoin CFDs. ASIC is concerned that these entities are offering personal advice to retail investors which are not authorised by AGM Markets’ Australian financial services licence (AFSL), and that these entities are otherwise engaging in conduct that is misleading or deceptive, and/or unconscionable.
ASIC is warning that potential investors are likely to suffer detriment as a result of the conduct of these entities.
More information about the entities in question may be found in the table below:
Reports about Bitcoin-related scams in Australia have been on the rise. According to data from Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the number of reports about Bitcoin-related fraud in the week to October 29, 2017 was up 126% from the previous week.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has also voiced its concerns about the increased number of fraudulent schemes involving cryptocurrencies. ACMA warned the public of scams targeting people who use crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. In particular, the authority noted a number of fake Blockchain URLs and a Bitcoin survey that are indeed scams that aim to collect personal information.