One-quarter of suspected frauds reviewed by the French financial ombudsman last year involved crypto investment schemes, according to a report published Wednesday.
The figure, a sharp rise from the 6% reported in 2020, suggests the sector is overtaking more traditional foreign exchange scams among the issues that get referred to public prosecutors, the report by Marielle Cohen-Branche said.
French crypto investors were also warned they wouldn’t be able to complain about providers that aren’t registered with France's national financial markets authority, the AMF.
“The ombudsman is only able to act if the professional has actively solicited the investor in France,” the report said, noting the emergence of a “new type of dispute concerning crypto assets.”
Under French law, crypto providers that want to sell in France must register with the AMF, which checks governance and compliance with anti-money laundering norms.
But French clients who on their own initiative seek out foreign crypto providers might be left without any redress if there’s a problem, the ombudsman pointed out.
Cohen-Branche, who works independently at AMF, is responsible for mediating disputes citizens have with financial intermediaries such as brokers or investment managers in cases where no criminal behavior is suspected.
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