Dominic Lacroix, a Quebec City businessman believed by Quebec’s financial watchdog to be behind the virtual currency PlexCoin, was found guilty of contempt of court.
What happened: Lacroix and his company DL Innov inc. failed to respect broad ex parte orders issued by the Quebec Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal on July 20th that forbade them from “engaging in activities for the purpose of directly or indirectly trading in any form of investment” covered by section 1 of the Quebec Securities Act, either in Quebec or from Quebec to outside of the province.
“Public interest is at stake,” said Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc Lesage in a ruling issued mid-October. “Investor protection is primordial.”
Search warrants conducted at Lacroix’s home and the offices of DL Innov inc. revealed that:
- Invoices dated May 24, 2017 registered for the domain names of PlexWallet.com, PlexBank.org, PlexBank.com, PlexCoinfoundation.org and PlexCoinfoundation.com, PlexCoin.org and PlexCoin.com were paid by a Visa card in the name of Dominic Lacroix. The invoices were found in Lacroix’s home
- A list of more than 90,000 persons registered for PlexCoin’s presales were found at DL Innov
- A text message found in a cell phone belonging to a DL Innov employee revealed that Lacroix sent a message that stated “Don’t forget that when you talk about plex it’s not me who is behind it. You don’t know who it is. You just saw it from somewhere. It must be super private.”
Why it matters: Financial regulators around the world are cracking down on initial coin public offerings (ICO). It has been a challenge. The AMF tried and failed. China, which recently shut down local bitcoin exchanges and banned ICOs, too is finding out that it’s easier said than done. “Both markets have bounced back quickly, proving that the decentralised nature of the market makes it resilient even to the heavy hand of authoritarian government,” reports the Financial Times.
More headaches in store for cryptocurrencies. The Financial Times also reports that British banks are shunning companies that handle cryptocurrencies, forcing many to open accounts in Gibraltar, Poland and Bulgaria.
What’s next: Lacroix will be sentenced on November 14, 2017.
Read more about how Canada is grappling with cryptocurrencies. Very little has changed since I wrote this award-winning story.