September 23, 2021

Canadian regulator alleges OKEx operator violated securities law

The Ontario Securities Commission claimed Aux Cayes FinTech Company Limited, a legal entity in the Republic of Seychelles that operates crypto exchange OKEx, has failed to comply with the province’s law governing securities.

In an Aug. 18 notice, the Ontario Securities Commission, or OSC, alleged that Aux Cayes may have engaged in illegal activity and could face regulatory action if it fails to cooperate with authorities. According to the OSC, crypto asset products offered through OKEx are considered securities and derivatives, and subject to the Ontario securities law. The regulator claims Aux Cayes has failed to comply with the region’s registration and prospectus requirements.

The OSC issued a warning to all crypto asset trading platforms operating in the province in March that they must be in compliance with the securities law by April 19 or face regulatory action. Though the regulator’s enforcement team said Aux Cayes did respond to limited inquiries in June, the platform failed to provide “basic information about its Ontario clients,” including the number of accounts and aggregate holdings.

The enforcement team is recommending the OSC order Aux Cayes to cease all crypto trading, be prohibited from acquiring any securities, and potentially pay millions of dollars in penalties and disgorgement fees. According to an Aug. 19 notice, the agency has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 15 to address the allegations.

Related: Ontario securities regulator takes action against Kucoin

The commission has made similar allegations against Bybit, crypto exchange KuCoin and Polo Digital Assets, the parent company of Poloniex. In all cases, the OSC alleges the platforms failed to contact the securities regulator by the April 19 deadline and were in violation of the securities law. Major crypto exchange Binance announced in June it would cease providing services to users located in Ontario.