Coinsquare Exchange Execs to Resign Over Wash Trading Scandal

In a settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission, three seniors executives at the Canadian exchange agreed to step down and pay penalties over fake trades.

AccessTimeIconJul 22, 2020 at 9:31 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:34 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Canada-based crypto trading platform Coinsquare has agreed to settle with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) after it was found senior executives told employees to make fake trades on the platform.

  • Between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, 90% of Coinsquare's reported volume was faked in an illegal practice known as wash trading, the OSC said.
  • As part of the settlement agreement reached Tuesday, Coinsquare admitted that around 840,000 illicit wash trades were conducted on the platform, amounting to a total value of around 590,000 bitcoin (worth almost $5.5 billion at press time).
  • The agreement also states that CEO Cole Diamond, founder Virgile Rostand and executive Felix Mazer knowingly “authorized, permitted or acquiesced” Coinsquare staff to carry out the wash trading, made misleading statements and sought retribution against a whistleblower seeking to expose the misconduct.
  • The senior executives have now agreed to resign, with Diamond to pay a $1 million penalty and Rostand $900,000.
  • The agreement acknowledged that Mazer had already voluntarily paid $50,000 to the commission, having acted as the company’s CCO contrary to the public interest.
  • Jeff Kehoe, director of the enforcement branch of the OSC, said the case was the first time the commission has taken action against the reprisal of a whistleblower since protections were added to the Ontario securities legislation in 2016.
  • Diamond and Rostand have also been banned from being registrants, officers or directors of companies or "market participants" for two to three years. Mazer received a one-year ban.
  • Coinsquare’s investment dealer subsidiary, Coinsquare Capital Markets Ltd., which was seeking registry approval with the OSC prior to the investigation, has been ordered to put in place major governance improvements, including an internal whistleblower program.
  • Coinsquare, Diamond and Rostand must further pay a total of $300,000 for costs associated with the OSC’s investigation.
  • The OSC first accused the firm of illegal activities on Monday.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.