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ASIC hits lender with false ACL allegations

A cryptocurrency lender has been accused by the commission for falsely claiming to hold an Australian credit licence when it did not.

Cryptocurrency lender Helio Lending is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) alleged the lender had breached the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.

Based in Melbourne, Helio Lending is a start-up that incorporates cryptocurrency in its lending process, allowing clients to use the digital tender as security on a loan. 

ASIC alleges that Helio Lending falsely claimed it was a holder, or a representative of a holder, of ACL 391330 on two separate occasions.

According to ASIC, on 10 September 2018, Helio Lending’s website featured an article, titled “Australia’s first Independent crypto-lending company launches into market”, that claimed it held ACL 391330.

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The commission also alleges that the cryptocurrency lender’s website featured another article, published on 20 February 2019 and titled “Helio Lending in Hong Kong”, that “falsely represented that it held ACL 391330”. 

Helio Lending has since removed both articles from its website.

According to its website, the lender has also partnered with real estate agents to “allow their clients to leverage their crypto assets in order to purchase property” as well as allowing property and real estate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to be used as “collateral for loans, similar to a cryptocurrency-backed loan”. 

False claims of holding an ACL breaches section 30 of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, with a maximum individual per criminal contravention of one-year imprisonment and a fine of $25,200. 

The maximum penalty that can be imposed on a body corporate for breach of section 30 is 10 times the maximum individual fine. 

The matter is next listed for mention on 7 July 2022 in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

[Related: Westpac slapped with $1.5m fine for mis-selling CCI]

ASIC hits lender with false ACL allegations
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