The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a lawsuit against a U.K. citizen, after investors in his bitcoin startup lost out.
The agency, which oversees regulated trading in the United States, alleges that Renwick Haddow, a U.K. citizen now residing in the United States, acted fraudulently in soliciting investments for his companies in the bitcoin space.
The allegations centre around two different companies: Bitcoin Shop Inc., which acted as a bitcoin exchange and trading platform, and Bar Works, which provided co-working spaces.
Alongside the SEC’s fraud suit, Haddow is similarly facing charges from the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York on similar grounds.
The sensational allegations centre around Haddow’s attempts to raise funds for his companies, including misrepresentations about the operational and personnel sides of his entities.
Perhaps most surprisingly, it is alleged that some disclosed senior management figures with impressive track records were actually entirely fabricated, and according to the wording of the filed lawsuit, are people who “do not appear to exist”.
Haddow is subsequently alleged to have founded a broker-dealer, which was then used to siphon funds from investors into offshore bank accounts.
According to a release from the SEC on the case, the allegations centre on funds of over $5 million, which it believes may have been diverted intentionally for fraudulent purposes.
“Haddow allegedly diverted more than 80 percent of the in funds raised by the broker-dealer for the Bitcoin Store, and sent more than $4 million from the Bar Works bank accounts to one or more accounts in Mauritius and $1 million to one or more accounts in Morocco.”
The allegations tally with a previous ban from operating as a company director, which saw Haddow excluded from U.K. directorships for a period of eight years, following his conduct with a company called Branded Leisure plc.
The SEC has also submitted that a number of fake identities were employed by and attributed to the company, including one Gordon Phillips, an executive with an apparently illustrious career in finance in Europe and Asia.
The allegations hold Mr. Phillips to be a made-up character, perhaps used to inspire confidence in investors.
The lawsuits will now progress through the court system, as part of a series of ongoing actions and claims against Haddow.
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Odds Shark Staff Fri, Apr 29, 3:00pmBitcoin