SEC announces lawsuits for 'wash trading'

SEC announces lawsuits for 'wash trading'

Offenders created fake crypto demand

Representations of cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration from Aug 10, 2022. (Reuters photo)
Representations of cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration from Aug 10, 2022. (Reuters photo)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking legal action against five entities for creating an artificial volume of digital assets on Bitkub and Satang cryptocurrency exchanges.

According to the SEC's statement, the regulator issued civil sanctions against Bitkub, Thailand's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Anurak Chuachai and Sakon Srakawee of about 24.2 million baht (US$636,000).

The three offenders are not allowed to trade crypto assets or their derivatives for six months, or allowed to be directors or executives of a digital asset firm for 12 months, said the regulator.

Creating fake demand is often referred to as "wash trading", which is an illegal market manipulation tactic that misrepresents demand for digital assets.

This latest action follows the fine of 8.53 million baht issued by the SEC last month for Samret Wajanasathian, chief technology officer of Bitkub Blockchain Technology, following an insider trading investigation relating to SCB's failed acquisition of 51% of its digital asset exchange, Bitkub Online.

The regulator also fined the exchange in May for not complying with local regulations when listing its native token, KUB.

In the second case relating to Bangkok-based Satang Corp, the SEC issued civil sanctions to LLC Fair Expo and Mikalai Zahorski for similar offences, with 12.1 million baht ($318,000) requested in fines, along with trading ban terms.

In recent months, the SEC has increased its oversight function over the crypto space in light of the recent market implosion.

The regulator accused Zipmex and its chief executive Akalarp Yimwilai of failing to comply fully with its demand for information on how the firm managed its assets.

The SEC also banned crypto companies from offering staking or lending services to protect traders from the risk associated with the market.

According to CoinGecko, Bitkub has a daily volume of $62 million, making it the most popular digital asset exchange in Thailand.

The exchange offers 75 coins and trading pairs, with the most popular being Tether to baht.

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