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Hong Kong Blocks Access to JPEX Sites Amid $152 Million Fraud Allegations As Exchange Calls Action ”Suppression”

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Hong Kong blocked access to the website and mobile app of crypto exchange JPEX as it sought to protect investors amid allegations of a $152 million fraud.

The block by telecoms providers on Wednesday came after the exchange offered a new dividend plan to customers. The securities regulator and police are also preparing to ask social media platforms to remove pages connected to JPEX, reported the local South China Morning Post, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Hong Kong’s commercial crime bureau arrested another three people on Wednesday, raising the total number of suspects being held in connection with the JPEX case to 11. The police have received complaints against the exchange from 1,641 people who have estimated losses of HK$1.19 billion ($152 million). Assets worth about HK$67 million were seized after raids on 20 premises.

JPEX Under High Profile Probe

JPEX arrest

JPEX’s troubles began on Sept. 15, when Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) released a name-and-shame statement that said the exchange is not licenced to operate in Hong Kong. It also warned that JPEX had provided false information about obtaining licenses from foreign regulators, promoted business partnerships that never materialized, and was offering suspiciously high returns for its interest-bearing products.

The exchange hit out at the action against yesterday, when it said it will continue operating even in the face of “such oppression and unfair treatment.” It advised customers to use a VPN in order to access its website and mobile app.

“The SFC has repeatedly denied our platform’s attempts at communication and, now, even ordered the telecom providers to block our website, which undoubtedly exposes their prejudice and unfair treatment towards our platform,” it said.  “The SFC has suddenly made a series of accusations against our platform’s operating model and promotional methods, which we vehemently resent as they were made without investigation or review.”

JPEX Promises Double Reward For New Customers

It had unveiled a new “DAO Stakeholders Dividend Plan” on Wednesday night and promised new customers who signed up a double reward for whatever holdings they exchanged for dividends.

It said users who are also members of the DAO will be able to decide whether to implement the plan in a referendum on today. If implemented, members will be able to trade their present crypto holdings for DAO shareholder dividends at a 1:1 ratio. The assets will have a one and two-year claim period which earns 30% and 100% of the original assets respectively.

“We will distribute 49% of the DAO Stakeholder dividends, with a total value of approximately 400 million USDT for subscription and conversion,” it said.

In a separate development, JPEX filed for deregistration from the Australian crypto market on Sept. 20.

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