Hong Kong-based crypto platform CoinEx is facing a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accuses the firm of falsely presenting itself as an exchange by not registering as a securities and commodities broker-dealer in the state.
The petition, filed on Feb. 22 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, claimed that CoinEx had listed various tokens and services that qualify as securities and/or commodities under state law, adding that the company had failed to register with regulators before offering its services in the state.
The Attorney General’s office also alleged that CoinEx failed to comply with a subpoena issued on Dec. 22, 2022, requiring the company to “provide testimony concerning the virtual asset trading activities of its platform.”
The filing stated that Flexa’s AMP, LBRY’s LBC, Terraform Labs’ LUNA, and Rally’s RLY tokens are both securities and commodities under state law while also noting that CoinEx had listed itself as an exchange on its website and offered services similar to those that national securities exchanges or other similar platforms may offer.
As a result of the allegations, the NYAG’s office is seeking CoinEx to geofence New York by blocking local IP addresses, cease doing any business in the state, provide “full monetary restitution”, and pay NYAG fees.
New York’s history in crypto lawsuits
New York has been an active player in the crypto space with lawsuits against others, including Alex Mashinsky, the former CEO of crypto lender Celsius, and in the past, actions against Bitfinex and Tether.
CoinEx, founded in 2017 and also known as Vino Global Ltd, is just the latest cryptocurrency exchange to face legal action over its operations. In January, New York and nine other US states secured up to $22.5 million from cryptocurrency company Nexo Inc and an affiliate to resolve civil claims they transacted without proper registration and lied about their registration status.