Former Zipmex Thailand CEO accused of fraud by Thai SEC

abdelaziz Fathi

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused former Zipmex Thailand director and CEO, Ekkalarp Yimwilai with corruption and deception.

Zipmex Thailand

According to the SEC’s statement on Thursday, customer assets in the exchange’s Z Wallet were illicitly transferred to overseas digital wallets prior to notifying customers of changes in terms and conditions. The action contradicts the information previously provided by Zipmex Thailand, indicating potential fraud by presenting false statements to the public.

The SEC’s investigation also highlights discrepancies between the reports submitted by Zipmex Thailand and the information the regulator obtained. Yimwilai, who served as CEO from August 2018 to November 2023, is now facing serious allegations as the SEC has filed a complaint with the Office of the Provincial Crime Suppression Division, urging further legal action.

Zipmex Thailand, part of the Singapore-based Zipmex network led by Marcus Lim, received operational approval from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance and the SEC in 2020. However, the exchange’s website and mobile app have been disabled following the SEC’s directives.

The SEC accuses Yimwilai of corruption and deception by presenting false statements, concealing the truth, and obtaining property through deception. This involves altering or omitting crucial information in Zipmex Thailand’s accounts or documents, which constitutes an offense under Section 88 of the Digital Assets Act.

Thailand’s authorities ordered Zipmex last week to halt its digital asset trading and brokerage services.

This decision follows the SEC’s previous directive on January 12, requiring Zipmex to revise its liquid capital maintenance and management structure. As of February 1, the SEC found that Zipmex had not satisfactorily met these requirements.

The Singapore-based platform was given a 15-day period to rectify its financial situation and implement measures to prevent the misuse of customer funds. Zipmex is required to submit the results of these corrections to the SEC within this timeframe. The crypto exchange will only be allowed to resume normal operations upon obtaining approval from the SEC.

In response to the SEC’s order, Zipmex revealed that it had already ceased trading and deposit services. Furthermore, the exchange advised its customers to withdraw their assets, as indicated in its website announcements in December and January.

Zipmex’s operational challenges began in July 2022 when it suspended withdrawals. This decision was influenced by the broader market fallout following the collapse of the Terra ecosystem and the subsequent folding of several crypto lenders. To address its financial losses, Zipmex sought creditor protection and initiated efforts to raise capital.

In November 2023, Zipmex proposed a restructuring plan that involves an initial payout of approximately 3.35 cents per dollar of claims, with the possibility of increasing the repayment to as much as 29.35 cents per dollar. However, this plan faced pushback from major creditors who demanded a thorough review of the exchange’s assets and liabilities.

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