Swiss Financial Regulator FINMA Reports Illegal Activity by Envion AG & Initial Coin Offering

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has issued a release stating it has found that Envion AG “unlawfully received public deposits on a commercial basis from at least 37,000 investors.”

Envion is currently in the process of being liquidated by the Zug bankruptcy authority.

Zug, Switzerland is known as “Crypto Valley” and is the epicenter of much crypto/blockchain activity.

FINMA reports that as part of the liquidation process an investigator was appointed to review “suspicious activity.”

The investigator reportedly discovered that the company had “unlawfully accepted funds amounting to over 90 million Swiss francs (USD $90.7 million) from at least 37,000 investors pertaining to an initial coin offering (ICO) for EVN tokens. The ICO was completed without the necessary statutory license and thus the company was acting illegally and “seriously violated supervisory law.”

FINMA notes that ICOs can fall within the scope of the Banking Act. FINMA states that investors were able to purchase these tokens by making payments in US dollars as well as in the Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Envion AG apparently granted the token owners a claim to repayment after thirty years.

The conditions for the EVN tokens were in a “bond-like form” and were not equal for all investors.

Additionally, the prospectuses did not meet the minimum statutory requirements and there was no internal audit unit as required by law.

The acceptance of US dollars and the Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies were said to amount to an acceptance of public deposits for the purposes of the Banking Act. Under Swiss law, this requires a banking license.

FINMA said the proceedings were ongoing. As a result, further supervisory measures against the company by FINMA will not be required.

FINMA noted that it will continue to consistently take action against ICO business models which violate or circumvent supervisory law.

FINMA added that it is committed to ensuring that serious innovators can launch their ICO projects lawfully and has published guidelines to this effect.

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