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Australia’s Helio Lending Faces Legal Consequences for False License Claims

Australia’s cryptocurrency lending firm, Helio Lending, has recently been handed a non-conviction good behaviour bond for a year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) due to deceptive claims about possessing a local credit license. The incident, which dates back to August 2019, saw Helio falsely assert the possession of an Australian credit license in a news article posted on its website.

Under the terms of the bond, Helio Lending is obligated to pay $9,600 (equivalent to 15,000 Australian dollars) if it violates the terms of the bond within the year. A good behavior bond is typically awarded for relatively less severe offences. In this case, a non-conviction bond implies that Helio Lending will only receive a conviction if it breaches the terms of the bond, resulting in a financial penalty.

Helio Lending had pleaded guilty, and this admission was considered in determining the sentencing. Notably, one of the charges related to a misleading claim about holding a license on the company’s website was dropped as part of the proceedings.

The company, which offers loans backed by cryptocurrencies, is a subsidiary of the U.S.-based crypto-focused public holding company Cyios Corporation. Interestingly, Cyios Corporation also owns the upcoming nonfungible token (NFT) platform, Randombly.

The legal action against Helio was initiated by ASIC in April 2022, culminating in the recent sentencing. In an investor update from late 2018, the company had previously claimed that it had obtained the license through the acquisition of Cash Flow Investments and its associated license.

ASIC’s recent legal victory is just one of its several moves against entities operating in the cryptocurrency space. In an earlier August case, the regulator filed a lawsuit against the trading platform eToro, alleging that its screening procedures before offering leveraged derivative contracts to retail investors were inadequate. Additionally, in December, ASIC sued financial product comparison site Finder.com, asserting that the platform had offered a crypto yield-bearing product without the requisite license.

The actions undertaken by ASIC highlight the regulatory authorities’ increasing scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry, emphasizing the importance of adhering to legal and licensing requirements in the evolving digital finance landscape.

 

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