Firm That Saw Stock Boost After Crypto 'Pivot' Hit With New SEC Charges
The SEC filed fresh fraud charges against Longfin Corp. on Wednesday, alleging the company falsified its accounting. Longfin's stock price jumped after it announced a crypto pivot in 2017.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed new charges against fintech company Longfin Corp. and its CEO, Venkata Meenavalli, alleging that the company committed fraud when it claimed to bring in more revenue than it had in order to secure an exchange listing for its shares.
According to a press release Wednesday, the SEC is accusing Longfin, whose share price jumped some 2,000 percent in 2017 after announcing a blockchain pivot, of falsifying its revenue and fraudulently getting the company listed on the Nasdaq exchange. The charges come on top of previous allegations of illicitly distributing unregistered shares, which previously resulted in a preliminary injunction.
"The complaint alleges that Longfin and Meenavalli obtained qualification for a Regulation A+ offering by falsely representing in SEC filings that the company was principally managed and operated in the U.S. when, in fact, the company’s operations, assets and management remained offshore," according to the filing.
The company and its CEO also allegedly distributed 400,000 shares to insiders and affiliates without actually selling these shares, simply to meet listing criteria for the Nasdaq.
What's more, Longfin consultant Andy Altahawi allegedly "misrepresented to Nasdaq" how many shares were sold, and how many shareholders existed.
In addition to the fraudulent shares allegation, Longfin reportedly inflated its inflow, "recording more than $66 million in sham revenue."
In a statement, SEC associate director of the Division of Enforcement Anita Bandy said "we allege a multi-pronged fraud involving fake revenue, misrepresentations to the SEC, and false statements to Nasdaq,” adding:
The company shut down in November 2018.
The SEC has previously accused Longfin of issuing more than 2 million restricted shares to several individuals, who in turn sold these shares to collectively make more than $27 million in profits.
that “The SEC has shown that it is likely to prove at trial that these defendants participated in an unregistered, illegal public offering of the stock of Longfin Corp.”
SEC image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.