Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Akarlap Yimwilai, the former CEO of Zipmex Thailand, with corruption and deception.
According to an official statement released on Thursday, the SEC’s investigation revealed that customer assets held in Zipmex Thailand’s Z Wallet were transferred to overseas digital wallets without prior disclosure of changes in the platform’s terms and conditions.
“Therefore, it is considered that Zipmex Thailand has committed fraud by presenting false statements,” the SEC said.
Yimwilai Served as CEO for 5 Years
Akarlap Yimwilai served as the CEO of Zipmex Thailand from August 2018 to November 2023, as indicated on his LinkedIn profile.
Zipmex Thailand is a subsidiary of Zipmex, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange led by Marcus Lim.
It received approval from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance and SEC to operate in 2020.
Last week, the SEC ordered Zipmex Thailand to suspend its digital asset trading and brokerage services, and the exchange’s website and mobile app have subsequently been disabled.
Thailand’s SEC charges ex @ZipmexTH CEO Akarlap Yimwilai with misleading customers and transferring assets without notice, violating disclosed terms.
Last week, the SEC ordered Zipmex Thailand to suspend digital asset trading and brokerage services.
— MetaverseSG (@MetaverseSG) February 8, 2024
Furthermore, the SEC alleges that the reports submitted by Zipmex Thailand were inconsistent with the information uncovered during their investigation.
In response, the SEC has filed a complaint against Akarlap Yimwilai with the Office of the Provincial Crime Suppression Division, urging further legal action to be taken.
The decision on whether or not to pursue charges against Yimwilai lies with the investigative authority.
Zipmex’s Regulatory Issues
Zipmex has already discontinued trading and deposit services and encouraged its customers to withdraw their assets, according to announcements on its website.
Zipmex has been under regulatory scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) since December 2022, following the downturn in the crypto market.
The exchange was reportedly under investigation regarding an acquisition by V Ventures and allegations of operating in Thailand without regulatory approval.
In November 2023, Zipmex suspended trading, citing the move as an effort to comply with regulations. The Singapore-based exchange had filed for debt relief in 2022, allegedly owing customers $97 million.
Following this, Zipmex was reportedly looking to provide creditors with 3.35 cents per dollar for initial claims as part of its restructuring initiatives.
However, major creditors deferred the proposals, seeking a comprehensive examination of the exchange’s assets and liabilities.
While Thailand has been embroiled in some controversies, the country has emerged as one of the top jurisdictions for offshore digital asset investors.
More recently, in a bid to further cement position its position as a leading digital asset hub, the country’s Finance Ministry announced the exemption of value-added tax (VAT) on digital asset trading.
By easing tax rules, the ministry has suspended the requirement to pay 7% VAT on income derived from cryptocurrency and digital token trading.
This VAT exemption, effective since January 1, 2024, has no expiration date, providing a long-term incentive for investors and traders in the digital asset space.
Furthermore, the SEC of Thailand has updated the criteria for investing in digital tokens, easing more restrictions.
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