The SEC once again punished false statements related to crypto-activities of a public-listed company and their Simex exchange. In September, the agency announced it was investigating Crypto Asset Management LP (CAM) for claiming it was regulated and registered with the SEC. Just recently, the agency launched an investigation of crypto startup Blockvest LLC for falsely purporting SEC regulatory approval and illegally using the SEC seal to give credibility to its claims.
In its latest action, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended trading in the securities of US-based American Retail Group Inc (OTC: ARGB) aka SIMEX Inc. amid questions surrounding its statements about partnering with a claimed SEC-qualified custodian for use with cryptocurrency transactions and a purportedly registered public offering of preferred stock.
American Retail Group, Inc. is the operator of the digital assets exchange SIMEX. The company published press releases last August announcing a public offering to raise up to $200 Mio. It was claimed that the share offering was “officially registered in accordance [with] SEC requirements.” The company said that the raised funds will be used towards increasing the liquidity of its cryptocurrency and digital assets exchange platform SIMEX. Moreover, the company purported that “all investors can have the SEC qualified custodian and escrow services provided by Prime Trust“.
It turned out, however, that neither the offering nor the custodian was registered with the SEC.
“The SEC does not endorse or qualify custodians for cryptocurrency, and investors should use vigilance when considering an investment in an initial coin offering,” said Robert A. Cohen, Chief of the Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit.
It would be much appreciated by all honest actors and investors of the crypto-scene if watchdogs in other jurisdictions would act as fast and consequent as the U.S. SEC.