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Philippines: Securities regulator revokes Astrazion’s corporate registration due to fraud charges

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The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a directive for the cancellation of the registrations of Astrazion Noble Task Community Foundation and Astrazion Global Holdings Philippines Inc. for offering unlicensed securities offerings.

According to the securities regulator, the entities in question crossed the line “for soliciting investments from the public without the requisite license and through a fraudulent scheme.” The SEC reiterated that securities could not be offered to the public without being registered with the commission.

The public disclosure noted that the two firms were “engaged in investment-taking activities without the required license or registration which is not authorized by this Commission.” In particular, the SEC noted that the companies breached section 8 of the Securities Regulation Code.

Astrazion promoted its AZNT token to investors as a digital asset that would grow in value from an initial price of $0.10 to reach highs of $10. Under the purview of securities law, the securities watchdog tagged the transaction as an investment contract and called it a Ponzi scheme.

In March 2022, Astrazion Group received a show-cause order asking them to show credible reasons why its principal members should not be slammed with sanctions for violating securities law and why the firm’s incorporation should not be revoked. After a response failed to satisfy the commission, a cease and desist order was issued against Astrazion Group. After a series of legal back and forths, a final cancellation of the corporate registration of the entities was issued.

Filipino regulators are on a streak

While digital asset adoption is rising in the Philippines, the country’s regulators are stepping up their efforts in policing the industry. The securities watchdog has been on a spree against perceived bad actors in the industry, issuing several public advisory warnings against them.

Another agency raising the stakes is the country’s tax agency, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The agency has launched several cases against bad actors in the digital assets industry for tax evasion offenses.

The country has been leading the charge for virtual currency adoption in Southeast Asia with sweeping legislative reforms and increasing adoption rates. The metaverse is one area that Filipinos are leaning towards, with new research from Ciena showing that the country’s working-class are is already dabbling in it.

The country ranks second in Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index 2022, while transaction volumes surpass all others in the region.

Watch: nChain’s Stefan Matthews tells CoinGeek Backstage why Philippines has the most to gain with blockchain adoption

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