Prospero Markets has its ASIC AFS license suspended

Following our FNG Unique report from final month that Australia police had raided the places of work of ASIC licensed Retail FX and CFDs dealer Prospero Markets, as a part of a wider motion taken towards a China based mostly cash laundering ring, Australia monetary regulator ASIC has introduced that it has now suspended the Australian Monetary Companies (AFS) license of the corporate.

Prospero Markets is an Australia based mostly dealer which companies primarily Chinese language talking shoppers, each in Australia and throughout the Far East.

Prospero Markets Pty Ltd has additionally offered an endeavor to the regulator that it’s going to not deal in shopper funds with out ASIC’s settlement.

Prospero’s license suspension means it can’t present monetary companies in the course of the suspension interval from 20 December 2023 till 28 February 2024.

Dean Wang

Curiously, in explaining its determination ASIC made no point out of the police raid, or the arrest on the time of Prospero’s controlling shareholder and Managing Director Ding (Dean) Wang. As an alternative, the regulator acknowledged that following an administrative listening to, ASIC discovered that Prospero Markets did not lodge its annual monetary assertion and audit report for the monetary 12 months ending 30 June 2023 inside the prescribed timeframe and in compliance with its AFS license situations.

ASIC added that if Prospero fails to lodge its annual monetary assertion and audit report for the monetary 12 months ending 30 June 2023 in the course of the suspension interval, ASIC will contemplate whether or not the license ought to be suspended for an additional interval or cancelled.

On 16 November 2023, ASIC additionally commenced an investigation of suspected contraventions of the Firms Act 2001 by Prospero, within the interval from 1 March 2021.

On 19 December 2023, Prospero Markets agreed to ASIC’s request that Prospero present an endeavor to ASIC that it’s going to not deal in shopper funds with out ASIC’s permission. The endeavor will stay till at the very least 8 February 2024 to permit ASIC time to analyze its considerations. The regulator added that Prospero Markets is aiding ASIC with its investigation. Prospero can also apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a overview of ASIC’s determination to droop its AFS license.

Cash laundering arrests

In our earlier article from the tip of November, we had reported that Australian Federal Police (AFP) had arrested seven members of an alleged Chinese language organised crime syndicate, accusing them of secretly operating a outstanding, multi-billion-dollar cash remitting chain in Australia in what the AFP termed the “most advanced AFP-led cash laundering investigation” within the nation’s historical past.

The arrests surrounded a nationwide chain of foreign money change shops referred to as Changjiang Forex Change, which the AFP alleges is being secretly run by the Lengthy River cash laundering syndicate out of China. The syndicate and Changjiang Forex Change are accused of laundering $229 million within the proceeds of crime over the previous three years.

Amongst these arrested was reportedly Ding (Dean) Wang, who’s listed as the only real director of CJ Prime Monetary, the last word holding firm of Prospero Markets, and Prospero Markets’ presumed controlling shareholder. And it seems that Prospero Markets’ places of work have been amongst these areas which have been raided by the AFP in late October. Prospero Markets’ financial institution accounts have been additionally frozen on the time.

Whereas the AFP didn’t particularly point out Prospero Markets in its unique press launch asserting the arrests, or formally hyperlink the Changjiang Forex Change to Prospero Markets, Australia information web site The Australian reported that quite a lot of these arrested (other than Ding Wang) even have hyperlinks to Prospero Markets. The Australian additionally reported {that a} supply knowledgeable it that it’s “widespread data” within the Chinese language group in Australia that Changjiang Forex Change and Prospero Markets have been run by the identical individuals.

Following the AFP raid, we reported that Prospero Markets shoppers have been despatched an e mail by the corporate stating:

“We remorse to tell you that Prospero Markets’ financial institution accounts together with however not restricted to its Consumer Cash financial institution accounts have been frozen by the banks.

“We’re within the means of contacting the related banks to have these accounts unfrozen.

“In consequence, we now have been unable to course of your deposits and withdrawals, in addition to different required dealings in these accounts, since October 25.

“We’re working to rectify this as shortly as potential.’’

We’ll proceed to observe this story because it develops.