An ex-Merrill Lynch banker has been fined and suspended from working for a month after allegedly starting a cryptocurrency mining operation without informing his company.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a self-regulating financial authority in the US, was responsible for issuing the decision against Kyung Soo Kim.
It means that the banker will be unable to work for a month and will have to pay a $5,000 fine. Kim neither admitted nor denied the regulator’s findings.
The Ex-Merrill Lynch advisor allegedly launched a cryptocurrency mining operation in late 2017, just before the digital asset’s price peaked at around $20,000.
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In order to do that, Kim opened and funded a business account for the mining operation. According to FINRA, he also entered into an agreement with a technology company that would provide the hardware needed to get the mining business started.
Not technically illegal but not according to the rules
If all of this sounds relatively innocent, that’s because it is. Kim didn’t actually do anything that was necessarily illegal.
But, according to FINRA, he should have informed Merrill Lynch of the activities that he was engaging in. His failure to do so, the self-regulating body said, was what landed him with a fine.
“Kim failed to provide written notice to Merrill of the above-described activity,” said FINRA. “By reason of the foregoing, Kim violated FINRA rules.”
As a result of his actions, Kim was also discharged from a role that he had held with banking giant Merrill Lynch in March of last year. FINRA cited Kim’s “failing to disclose an outside business activity” as the reason he left the bank.