Taipei, Nov. 10 (CNA) Three suspects have been released on bail after being investigated in an alleged fraud case involving the international cryptocurrency trading platform JPEX, according to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on Thursday.
The main suspect, JPEX Taiwan’s chief partner who was only identified by his last name Chang (張), was released on bail of NT$1.5 million (US$46,383) after being examined.
Two other individuals involved in the case, surnamed Shih (施) and Liu (劉), were let go on NT$500,000 and NT$50,000 bail, respectively.
Prosecutors said the three individuals are suspected of fraudulently promoting virtual currencies such as the JTC coin by promising apparently inappropriately high rates of return since June 2023.
Chang and Shih, who is a JPEX lecturer, are also being investigated on suspicion of violating the Banking Act and the Money Laundering Control Act, they said.
An investigation into the case was launched after financial authorities, including the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), recently received reports from cryptocurrency investors accusing the platform of fraud.
After the suspects were investigated Wednesday, Taipei prosecutors later filed a request to detain Chang.
The motion was subsequently turned down by the Taipei District Court, which instead prohibited him from leaving the country and directed him not to change his place of residence in Taiwan amid the ongoing investigation.
The FSC on Thursday said JPEX is not a registered entity in Taiwan, as it is required to be to transact business in the country, and that the case has since been transferred to prosecutors for investigation.
Kao Ching-ping (高晶萍), deputy director of the FSC’s Securities and Futures Bureau, said at a press event that foreign cryptocurrency firms must be legally registered in Taiwan to operate legally in the country, as stipulated by the Banking Act.
Under the banking law, foreign businesses that have not registered a branch office in Taiwan are banned from operating in the country on their behalf, Kao said.
Those who violate the rules are subject to a fixed-term imprisonment of up to one year, short-term detention, and/or a fine of up to NT$150,000, and shall also have civil liabilities.
The JPEX platform has also run into problems in other markets.
Based on various foreign media reports, the JPEX platform has been under investigation by authorities in Hong Kong since September due to allegations of fraud after investors complained of over US$150 million in losses.
According to prosecutors, meanwhile, Taiwanese singer Nine Chen (陳零九), a former JPEX brand ambassador in Taiwan, was also recently called to answer questions as a witness, but because of complaints later filed by victims, he is currently being treated as a possible defendant.
On Thursday, Chen released a statement through his agent that he reported to local police for questioning last week, but could not divulge any other details because the investigation is still ongoing.
(By Lin Chang-shun, Hsieh Fang-yu and Ko Lin)