Australia’s top securities watchdog has sentenced digital asset lender Helio Lending Pty Ltd. to a one-year bond over false licensing claims.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) siad Helios falsely claimed to hold an Australian credit license (ACL).
Melbourne-based cryptocurrency lender Helio Lending Pty Ltd has been sentenced to a non-conviction bond for falsely claiming that it held an Australian credit licence when it did not https://t.co/GwrQ5VbRBf pic.twitter.com/gOsHHp02xL
— ASIC Media (@asicmedia) August 17, 2023
ASIC sentenced the lender to an AUD15,000 (US$9,600) non-conviction bond for 12 months on the condition of good behavior. Under the bond’s stipulations, Helio can only be convicted if it breaks the conditions of the bond within the following year. False licensing claims can attract up to $16,000 in fines for individuals and $160,000 for corporates in Australia.
The bond is the culmination of legal action that the watchdog launched against the lender at the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court in April 2022.
ASIC alleged that in September 2018, Helio published a news article on its website claiming to hold the ACL license. It continued to make similar claims in ensuing months, including through another post on its website in February 2019.
However, the regulator withdrew the other charges after Helio pleaded guilty to the first offense in September 2018.
“We expect entities and individuals to provide accurate information to their customers and potential customers. Helio falsely claimed that it held an Australian Credit licence, misleading their customers to believe that they had the protections afforded by such a licence,” stated ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court in her comments.
The sentencing comes when Australia has ramped up its digital asset clampdown. ASIC leads in industry crackdowns and regulation. Earlier this month, it sued Israeli-based online broker eToro for targeting retail traders with its complex and volatile contract for difference (CFD) products, which include digital assets. Just weeks earlier, it revoked FTX Australia’s license.
Aussie banks have joined in on the digital asset crackdown. Three of the country’s four largest banks have banned or placed restrictions on exchange transfers to curb scams. The latest bank to make a similar move was Bendigo Bank which announced a ban on high-risk digital asset payments earlier this month.
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