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JPEX Crypto Exchange Suspends Some Operations Amid Liquidity Squeeze After Hong Kong Regulator Names and Shames It


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JPEX suspended some operations after a warning by Hong Kong’s securities regulator triggered a liquidity squeeze at the crypto exchange.

The squeeze followed a Sept. 13 statement by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission that said the exchange is not licenced to operate in Hong Kong. It also warned that it 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 South China Morning Post reported that JPEX had been named in 83 complaints to Hong Kong police over virtual assets worth HK$34 million ($4.35 million), and that police commissioner Raymond Siu had urged other victims to come forward.

JPEX Blames Regulators and Market Makers

JPEX quickly blamed the SFC for its plight in a notice on its website.

“Due to the unfair treatment by relevant institutions in Hong Kong towards JPEX, a cryptocurrency trading platform, and a series of negative news, our partnered third-party market makers have maliciously frozen funds,” it said in a Sept. 17 blog post. ”They demanded more information from the platform for negotiation, restricting our liquidity and significantly increasing our daily operating costs, leading to operational difficulties.”

JPEX suspended the operations of its Earn program and subsequently hiked its withdrawal fees.  some JPEX users said that the exchange is charging a withdrawal fee of 999 USDT for a maximum amount of 1,000 USDT.

JPEX said it was working to recover its liquidity from third-party market makers and promised to “gradually adjust the withdrawal fees back to normal levels.” It added that it would need to restructure to maintain stable operations and said it would reach out to its users for suggestions.

“We will publicly collect users’ suggestions, discuss proposals with the dedicated team, and select reasonable plans for a user referendum,” it said.

Influencer Arrested in Connection with Troubled JPEX Exchange

In a related development, local influencer Joseph Lam was also arrested because of his connections to JPEX. Lam had previously promoted JPEX and was arrested for conspiracy to defraud, the local Standard news site reported.

Police also raided Lam’s office in Hong Kong today, the local South China Morning Post reported. The raid on influencer Lam’s office resulted in police seizing boxes of evidence, including some banknotes. On Friday, Lam had informed his Instagram followers that he had visited the police station to provide the relevant information he had concerning JPEX. He even encouraged JPEX users to reach out to the police using a hotline that had been established to report any losses they had incurred.

While JPEX claims on its website that its operating headquarters is located in Dubai under the supervision of the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority of Dubai (VARA), the SFC says JPEX is not on the public list of licensed virtual assets service providers published by VARA.

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