Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has imposed a civil sanction on the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the country’s biggest digital asset exchange, Bitkub. The regulator alleges that Samret Wajanasathian engaged in insider trading.
Per the SEC’s announcement, the CTO carried out several large purchases of the native token of the exchange, KUB, between September and November 2021, totaling around $61,100. He began his buying spree after finding out in August that the Siam Commercial Bank (SCBX) was negotiating to buy a 51% stake in the digital asset exchange.
When SCBX officially announced its $500 million bid on November 2, the price of the KUB token rose by 101%, from around THB49.53 to THB99.99 baht in a single day. This put the CTO investments in considerable profit in contravention of Section 42(1) and Section 43(1) of the Digital Asset Business Royal Decree of 2018.
The SEC is imposing an THB8,530,383 fine (about $234,000 at the time of writing) to reimburse benefits received or receivable and the SEC’s investigation expenses. He is also barred from being a director or executive officer at any digital asset firm for a year. The prohibition will, however, begin when he signs a memorandum of consent.
The notice added that the SEC had tendered a request for public prosecutors to file a lawsuit against him. The fines payable will be remitted to the Ministry of Finance as state revenue.
“The SEC will have a letter requesting the public prosecutor to file a lawsuit with the Civil Court to impose civil sanctions at the highest rate prescribed by law, not lower than the rate prescribed by the SEC,” according to the regulator.
Thai regulators ramping up digital assets market scrutiny
The SEC carried out the investigation in collaboration with the Central Investigation Agency’s Economic Crimes Suppression Division (ECD). Notably, the SEC announced its enforcement action shortly after SCBX revealed that it was pulling out of the deal with Bitkub due to the exchange’s compliance issues that may take excessive time to resolve.
In May, the SEC also penalized five other Bitkub executives after they allegedly failed to comply with token listing regulations when the exchange began trading the KUB token, according to a report by a local news outlet.
Meanwhile, Bitkub has not been the only digital asset exchange receiving attention from Thai regulators. Zipmex has also come under fire from the SEC. Meanwhile, the Thai government has talked of broadening digital assets regulations to make the central bank’s jurisdiction include the digital assets market.
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