Unraveling the JPEX Crypto Scandal: Celebrities, Fraud, and a Billion-Dollar Investigation
Hong Kong’s Biggest Crypto Fraud Case
The virtual asset trading platform, “JPEX,” has been exposed to be operating without a license, launching a series of enforcement actions by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). This revelation has set off a chain reaction of investigations, implicating numerous high-profile personalities, including celebrities and internet influencers. The case has been identified as Hong Kong’s largest of its kind, involving an estimated HK 1.37 billion.
Noted Personalities under Investigation
Among those under investigation are Lam Cho, Zhuang Simin, Cheung Chi Lam, and internet celebrity Chen Yi. Another notable name connected to the case is celebrity Sammi, who had previously endorsed the cryptocurrency exchange store “Coingaroo.” His recent absence from his radio show during this critical period led to speculation about his potential involvement with JPEX. Sammi has since clarified that his contract with “Coingaroo” ended last year and that he was traveling in Spain during the time of these events.
Denial and Detachment from the Case
Most of the implicated personalities have either denied their involvement or claimed to have severed ties with JPEX. For instance, Sammi, upon being questioned by journalists, stated that the police hadn’t contacted him yet. Influencer Joseph Lam, who was arrested and later released on bail, held a press conference at his home, revealing that he had closed his company and terminated the rental contract for his office. He did not disclose any details about the JPEX investigation but confirmed that he had ceased operations with the connected business.
JPEX’s Promotional Strategy
Before the investigation, JPEX had been extensively promoting its financial products through influencers and celebrities. They claimed their product to be low risk and high return, attracting a significant number of investors. Additionally, JPEX had partnered with many over-the-counter crypto stores to attract investors. A large number of victims fell prey after attending courses where influencers and key opinion leaders were hired to endorse JPEX.
The Role of Over-The-Counter Crypto Stores
The investigation has also extended to branches of over-the-counter (OTC) crypto stores “Coingaroo” and “Coiner.” These stores are believed to have played a critical role in promoting JPEX and its products. The stores, in partnership with JPEX, conducted seminars and courses to educate potential investors about cryptocurrency investments, often using influencers and celebrities to endorse the platform.
Victims of the Scandal
With more than 2,197 reports related to the case, many people are claiming to have invested large amounts of money with JPEX that they have been unable to withdraw. One victim revealed that he had invested US$450,000 into the platform since last year but was unable to withdraw all the money. Many victims were persuaded to invest by the influencers and celebrities endorsing the platform, often with promises of high returns.
The Ongoing Investigation
As the case continues to unfold, more individuals are being implicated and arrested. As of now, the total number of arrests in the case stands at 11. Assets worth over HK$60 million linked to suspects have been frozen by the police, and the quest for justice for the victims is ongoing.
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