French regulator redirects cryptocurrency fraud case to public prosecutor’s office

Maria Nikolova

An individual presenting himself as Stéphane Delaplace pretends to be working at the AMF and to be investigating a cryptocurrency platform.

France’s financial markets authority (AMF) has been active in trying to protect investors from cryptocurrency fraud. In March this year, for instance, the regulator started publishing a “black list” of cryptocurrency websites that illegally target French residents.

But such scams continue to proliferate and the AMF has recently been forced to act against an impostor related to a cryptocurrency business posing as an AMF representative. Today, the French regulator published a warning about an individual presenting himself as Stéphane Delaplace. He claims to be working at the AMF and to be investigating a trading platform operating via https://www.union-crypto.com/.

The regulator notes that it has no employee called Stéphane Delaplace. Furthermore, the trading platform in question is not authorized to provide services to French residents.

The AMF has sent the information associated with this case to the public prosecutor’s office. The regulator urges all victims of the above-mentioned individual and platform to contact the AMF and/or the prosecutors. Anyone contacted by Stéphane Delaplace is urged not to give him any information.

In a recent speech before the Senate, AMF’s Chairman Robert Ophèle went one step further in his efforts to put an end to the offering and advertising of toxic products to French investors.

“I would like to make use of my presence here to plead in favor of an extension of the remit of the provisions of the Sapin 2 law beyond Forex and binary options to allow us to block the access to sites illegally offering investments in various goods – such as diamonds and crypto-assets”.

The AMF chairman reiterated that during the first four months of the year, the consumer information center of the regulator treated more than 4,000 enquiries, with some 700 of them concerning crypto-assets.

The French regulator has welcomed ESMA’s efforts to restrict the offering of high-risk CFDs and to impose a ban on binary options. Mr Ophèle has stressed that the national authorities will get to decide on how to implement the rules – they have the right, for instance, to implement the restrictions on a permanent basis. He said that he notices that certain nations are tempted to adapt the restrictions in a certain way – with regard to the CFD leverage cap or the underlying assets covered by the new rules. He also warned he could not exclude the possibility that some countries may simply suspend the restrictions within their territories.

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