ASIC Bans Panacea Capital Director Over Unlicensed $7.7 Mln Crypto Fund Scam

Australian regulator ASIC has permanently banned a director from financial services for operating an unlicensed $7.7 million cryptocurrency fund that misled investors before sending money to an overseas scam.

Key Insights

  • Australia’s ASIC has permanently banned Brian Jacques Creigh from financial services
  • Creigh provided misleading info in fund materials
  • The regulator deemed Creigh not a “fit and proper person” due to lack of competence

SYDNEY (MarketsXplora) – Australia’s corporate watchdog has permanently banned Brian Jacques Creigh from the financial services industry after finding he operated an unlicensed AU$7.7 million ($5.1 million) cryptocurrency fund that misled investors before sending money to an overseas scam.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said on Thursday Creigh ran the Panacea Capital Cryptocurrency Investment Fund between April 2021 and June 2022 without holding a legally required licence.

Fact sheets provided by Creigh to induce investments into the fund contained “misleading” statements, including claims of targeted annual returns as high as 150% and that Panacea had trading expertise when only Creigh and one other person worked there, ASIC said.

Creigh, the sole Panacea director, then sent funds from the cryptocurrency vehicle to invest in an entity called Liquid Assets Group that turned out to be “an investment scam”, leading to investor losses totalling around AU$7.7 million, the regulator added.

“ASIC found that Mr Creigh was not adequately trained or competent as he failed to react to warning signs that he was dealing with scammers or people overseas who were acting dishonestly,” the watchdog said in its statement.

The fact sheets also falsely claimed Panacea Capital was licensed in Australia. ASIC judged Creigh was not “a fit and proper person” as he provided misleading evidence, told investors not to cooperate with the probe, and created a fictitious employee.

The ban took effect immediately though Creigh has appeal rights. ASIC has pursued greater regulation of retail crypto investment products and unlicensed operators amid volatility in digital assets markets.

Losses from cryptocurrency-related scams in Australia hit an all-time peak of AU$242.5 million in 2022, over double the previous year’s figure, data showed.

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