KuCoin settles NYAG charges for $22M KuCoin settles NYAG charges for $22M

KuCoin settles NYAG charges for $22M

The Attorney General's lawsuit results in KuCoin withdrawing from New York and paying a hefty settlement.

KuCoin settles NYAG charges for $22M

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

Cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin has agreed to pay $22 million and cease operations in New York State to settle a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s office.

The New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against KuCoin on March 9, 2023. The lawsuit accused KuCoin of failing to register with the state before allowing investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on its platform.

Settlement terms

Court documents from the Supreme Court of the State of New York County revealed that KuCoin will compensate New York customers to the tune of $16.77 million and pay an additional $5.3 million to the Attorney General’s office.

The settlement resolves allegations that KuCoin violated the law by operating as an exchange for both securities and commodities services without obtaining the proper licensure to business in New York State. As part of the settlement terms, KuCoin must terminate access to its services for New York residents and close relevant accounts within 120 days from the order’s effective date.

In response to the settlement, KuCoin CEO Johnny Lyu tweeted:

“I want to update all of you about our latest compliance action. @kucoincom has reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General (NYAG), solidifying our commitment to compliant operations.”

NYAG lawsuit

The lawsuit was part of the Attorney General’s broader effort to regulate what she termed “shadowy” cryptocurrency companies.

In the lawsuit, the Attorney General alleged that KuCoin violated the Martin Act, a powerful anti-fraud law in New York that gives the state’s Attorney General extensive powers to investigate and prosecute securities fraud. It stands out for not requiring proof of intent to defraud, significantly impacting securities and commodities exchanges through high-profile cases against major financial institutions.

The exchange was accused of transacting in cryptocurrencies, selling the “KuCoin Earn” product to generate income for itself and investors, and illegally labeling itself as an “exchange” without proper registration. The lawsuit sought a permanent injunction to stop KuCoin from operating in New York until it complied with the law. KuCoin, launched in September 2017, describes itself as the “People’s Exchange,” with a significant user base across numerous countries and regions.

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