Australian Court Orders Winding Up of Forex Broker Prospero Markets

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered the winding up of forex and CFDs broker Prospero Markets Pty Ltd, appointing liquidators to unwind the firm as it faces a major money laundering investigation.

Key Insights

  • The Federal Court of Australia has granted ASIC’s request to issue a formal wind-up order for Prospero Markets Pty Ltd
  • Prospero Markets is accused of being involved in a major China-based money laundering ring
  • The liquidators appointed by the court will undertake urgent inquiries into Prospero’s financial affairs

SYDNEY (MarketsXplora) – Australia’s financial regulator has successfully petitioned a federal court to wind up forex and CFDs broker Prospero Markets Pty Ltd, appointing liquidators to unwind the firm as it faces a major money laundering investigation.

The Federal Court of Australia granted the request from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to issue a formal wind-up order for Prospero Markets, which had its license suspended by the regulator late 2023.

National Judicial Registrar Tim Luxton appointed insolvency specialists Andrew Cummins, Jonathon Keenan and Peter Krejci of BRI Ferrier as the joint and several liquidators of the embattled brokerage.

Why Prospero Markets Is Winding Up

Initial indications suggest Prospero Markets owes approximately A$19 million to around 2,500 clients, though the full extent of the firm’s liabilities and missing client funds remains unclear, the court heard.

The formal reason cited for the wind-up order was Prospero’s failure to lodge its financial statements and auditor’s report for the 2023 fiscal year – a similar issue that had previously led ASIC to suspend the broker’s license in December.

However, regulators and authorities say the “real reason” behind both the license cancellation and the court-ordered liquidation is Prospero Markets’ alleged involvement in a major China-based money laundering ring.

“The Liquidators are aware of reports linking Prospero to Changjiang Currency Exchange and related prosecutions in 2023 and note that the involvement of regulatory bodies and authorities could affect the conduct of the Liquidation,” BRI Ferrier said in a statement.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) raided Prospero Markets’ Melbourne headquarters late 2023 as part of a wider crackdown, dubbed Operation Avarus-Nightwolf, targeting the China-based Long River money laundering syndicate.

The AFP alleged the syndicate was secretly operating a nationwide chain of currency exchange outlets called Changjiang Currency Exchange, which it accused of laundering A$229 million in criminal proceeds over the past three years.

As a result of the AFP’s raid, Prospero Markets had all its bank accounts frozen, effectively halting services to clients. The broker’s sole director, Ding Wang, was among those arrested and charged with money laundering offenses.

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