France’s top financial regulator today warned of a cryptocurrency website called Air Next, which is associated with promoting an unregulated initial coin offering (ICO).
The recently proposed token sale was added to the regulator’s warning list after its operators contacted the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) to obtain a visa for their ICO.
Under the PACTE Law, France established the ICO Visa back in 2019 as a means to regulate the crypto fundraising method. However, the AMF said Air Next was never granted such approval as it suspects the documents it submitted are forged.
Striking a concerned tone on the offering, the AMF warned that Air Next’s ICO does not benefit from the legal guarantees associated with its regulatory certificate.
Adding to that, the authority alerted that this ICO not only falls outside of its scope, but also was “in infringement of Article L. 341-10, 6 of the Monetary and Financial Code,” which is subject to criminal penalties.
“Pursuant to Article 40 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 621-20-1 of the Monetary and Financial Code, the AMF is sending the Paris public prosecutor’s office the information it has concerning Air Next and its website airnext.io/,” it further explains.
The warning comes as Paris is seeking to police crypto activities, and in addition to such warnings, the industry regulator has recently approved the country’s second application for an initial coin offering (ICO).
Under the PACTE law, token issuers applying for a visa from the French regulator are required to provide a document that contains all relevant information on the proposed ICO. This information document and the marketing materials relating to the ICO should be accurate to allow investors to understand the risks associated with the offer.
Previously, France introduced its own guidelines governing the ICOs and similar token sales earlier in 2018 and then proposed legislative amendments to put cryptocurrency-related entities under the legislative purview of its financial watchdog.
Furthermore, the framework comes with hefty fines for those who fail to comply, but will not reimburse investors for their losses as it happens with compensation funds that cover traditional investments.
The Pacte Law also encompasses a very broad range of measures covering many aspects of all crypto-active players. The current laws require cryptocurrency exchanges as well as custodian providers to undergo a mandatory AMF registration and obtain a certification to be granted by the French watchdog. France’s primary regulator confirmed that it is already involved with other crypto-related operators such as exchange platforms, custodians, and asset managers.
Finally, the AMF recommends that traders seeking to invest in France do so only with financial institutions authorized to do business in the country. Any financial intermediary offering or recommending investments must be on the list of financial institutions authorized to do business in France, as can be verified via www.regafi.fr. A list of authorized intermediaries in additional investor adviser categories can be accessed on orias.fr/search.