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Malta Financial Regulator Warns Against Unauthorized Crypto Firms

Malta’s financial regulator has issued warnings against two crypto websites that falsely claimed to be licensed by the nation.

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) called out the “COINMALEX” and “Crypto Foxtrades” crypto exchanges in twin warnings Wednesday. Both entities had claimed to be licensed, registered or domiciled in Malta, all of which MFSA denied.

COINMALEX’s “about” page features a document purporting to be from the “Malta Business Registry,” a real institution within the small European island state. The document’s letterhead prominently displays the British royal coat of arms. Malta ceased using that icon when it gained independence from Britain in 1964.

Crypto Foxtrades’ “about us” page is more forthright about its alleged Malta ties. It claims to be “licensed and regulated as a Category 3 Investment Services provider by the Malta Financial Services Authority.” That is a real category, however MFSA insisted that Crypto Foxtrades is not licensed under it.

“The MFSA wishes to alert the public, in Malta and abroad, that Crypto Foxtrades is NOT a Maltese registered Company NOR licenced or otherwise authorised by the MFSA to provide the service of an exchange or other financial services which are required to be licenced or otherwise authorised under Maltese law,” MFSA said.

MFSA released a similar statement for COINMALEX.

Crypto Foxtrades and COINMALEX did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

MFSA has been closely policing allegedly Maltese crypto businesses since 2018, issuing warnings wherever and whenever it spotted one claiming phony licensure. Its efforts came to a head in February with the revelation that Binance, one of the world’s largest exchanges, had never operated in Malta and was never regulated by MFSA.

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