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Secretary Raul Lambino of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) today ordered a thorough investigation on the reported “investment scam”, allegedly being operated from an office of a CEZA Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange Principal Licensee in Pasig City.

On 12 September 2019, CEZA suspended the license to operate of Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd. (GMQ).  and of its other related licensees including its authorized service provider, Grapefruit Service Inc., pending a full investigation by all appropriate law and regulatory enforcement agencies, including the internal investigations by CEZA as the licensing authority.

CEZA is thankful for the actions and efforts of Philippine law enforcement agencies, namely the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI), in helping CEZA enforce the law and its rules and regulations.

CEZA is certain that there is no single Filipino citizen who was defrauded by this alleged “investment scam” which uses platforms for offshore operations that allegedly victimized some Chinese citizens.

Likewise, CEZA does not allow its licensees to conduct business activities or offshore virtual currency exchanges in any foreign country like China that prohibits such business activity.

Any violation of these conditions are grounds for automatic cancellation of their respective CEZA license and the filing of the appropriate legal action against any licensee found to have been in violation of these standards.

In fact, since the first week of September 2019, CEZA issued directives to all of its licensees for complete reports of legal, regulatory, and ethical compliance practices and standards—specifically to those operating offshore virtual currency exchanges. In this context, offshore virtual currency exchanges are those which are registered in a jurisdiction other than the Philippines that do not transact with any Filipino citizen or any person located in the Philippines.

These reports are under review at this time and will form basis for further internal investigation should any deficiencies be uncovered. Any and all violations of legal, regulatory, or ethical compliance will be subject to all applicable sanctions under CEZA rules and Philippine law.

As global best practices in financial technology continue to evolve, CEZA—similar to other known global virtual currency jurisdictions such as those in Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, and Malta—remains committed to the constant and diligent re-examination of best global practices which satisfy the needs of the Philippine setting. Enforcement and commercial viability remain the highest priority of CEZA, and if need be, adjustment of regulatory standards and protocols will be made to better enable that enforcement and application of the rules of law and fair commerce.

Pending the completion of the facilities in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, where development works have already started this year, CEZA licensees are authorized to temporarily operate within a short incubation period in Metro Manila.

CEZA reiterates its stand that it does not and will not tolerate any illegal, illegitimate, or unethical operations to be conducted within its regulatory framework. This commitment to the highest standards of legal, regulatory, and ethical compliance with the rule of law in the Philippines is—and has always been—unwavering.

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Source: Atty. Mike Gerald C. David, Spokesperson for the CEZA



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