Lee Elbaz Goes to Prison, Robinhood Fined: Editor’s Pick

Stay up to date with the most interesting stories in the crypto and FX space.

Although businesses might be slowing down for the holiday period, this past week was full of developments for the cryptocurrency and foreign exchange space. To find out what happened, take a look at our wrap up for our best of the week segment.

Lee Elbaz sentenced to 22 years in prison

2019 has not ended on a positive note for Lee Elbaz, who was the former CEO of Israel-based Yukom Communications. In particular, she was sentenced by a US federal judge to 22 years in prison after she was found guilty for her participation in a $145 million fraud scheme carried out by Israeli-run binary options websites.

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She was convicted in the District of Maryland with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Each of the four counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

SEC Fines BCoT $250K

As part of its ongoing crackdown of initial coin offerings (ICOs), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) imposed a fine of $250,000 on Blockchain of Things Inc. (BCOT).

As Finance Magnates reported, the regulator has fined the company for selling unregistered tokens via an ICO. The penalty was imposed as part of the settlement deal between the regulator and the ICO issuer. The SEC also ordered the company to return funds to all its investors.

Robinhood fined by FINRA

There’s been a lot of positive news regarding Robinhood in recent months. However, this week delivered a blow for the commission-free investing app. 

That’s because the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined the company $1.25 million in a civil action for not getting the best execution price for customer equity orders and failing to supervise the process properly. Read more on the penalty here.

AMF approves first ICO in France

France’s financial regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), today approved the country’s first application for an ICO – French-ICO, which developed a platform for funding projects in cryptocurrency.

The offering was the first to be white-listed by the regulator, with the notice posted on the AMF website. The watchdog’s approval will remain valid until the end of the subscription period, scheduled for June 1, 2020

JPMorgan gets approval to launch Chinese venture

JPMorgan Chase has received final regulatory approval to launch its majority-owned joint venture in China, as authorities in the mainland push ahead with their promise to open the country’s financial system.

As Finance Magnates analyzed, the US bank will team up with an undisclosed minority Chinese partner to create a new company that will operate asset management, brokerage, investment consulting, and proprietary trading businesses.

Circle sells OTC desk to Kraken

Kraken announced the acquisition of yet another major player in the crypto industry this week, this time taking over Circle Trade, the largest OTC desk in the crypto markets that handled last year alone over $24 billion in volume.

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Circle Trade, owned by Goldman Sachs-backed cryptocurrency firm Circle, is a core liquidity provider to the entire crypto ecosystem, including miners, exchanges, crypto funds, hedge funds, and family offices.

MahiFX closes trading platform

Following a number of tips from market participants, MahiFX confirmed to Finance Magnates that it was closing down the trading platform used by its Australia and New Zealand brokerages.

The last day of trading on the MahiFX platform will be the 23rd of December 2019. Once the platform is no longer operational, customers can continue using the company’s MetaTrader 4 platform, and MahiFX will transfer to solely being a technology provider.

The closure of its trading platform comes after the New Zealand and Australian regulated FX brokerage was recently acquired by LGT Solutions Ltd. According to a spokesperson at MahiFX, the company will be renamed to “HFTrading.”

ErisX launches physical BTC futures

Chicago-based crypto exchange ErisX has launched its own physically-settled Bitcoin futures contracts this week, meaning investors receive real cryptocurrency and not the cash equivalent, as Finance Magnates reported.

With this move, it is likely that Bakkt will soon face plenty of competition. The BTC futures are traded at and cleared through Eris Exchange Llc (CFTC-registered DCM) and Eris Clearing Llc (CFTC-registered DCO).

INTL FCStone acquires brokerage unit of Tellimer Group

INTL FCStone continued its streak of acquisitions this week, by announcing that it has executed a definitive sale and purchase agreement to acquire the brokerage businesses of Tellimer Group.

According to the company’s statement, the acquisition will see the financial firm purchase Exotix Partners LLP,  Tellimer Capital Ltd (Nigeria), and the broking business of Tellimer Markets Inc.

Interview: Kava Labs CEO on the evolution of DeFi

Underneath all of the buzz around DeFi lies meaningful progress. Recently, Finance Magnates sat down with Brian Kerr, CEO and co-founder of DeFi platform Kava Labs. Kava is a blockchain solution providing DeFi services such as stable coins, bonds, and lending to crypto users across many blockchain networks.

Brian spoke with us about the true meaning of DeFi, the future of the sector, and how his company is expanding financial services.

Consob orders broker out of Italy

This week, Consob ordered Hoch Capital Ltd, CySEC licensed forex and CFD broker, to cease operations in the country. The watchdog said the ban was necessary to protect Italian investors after the Limassol-based broker repeated its violations despite the measures adopted by its original regulator (CySec).

As Finance Magnates reported, the regulator further stated that it is the first time in which it exercises its authority to ban a firm from marketing its products to the Italian traders.

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