FTC announces investigation into Voyager’s ‘deceptive and unfair marketing’ of crypto

The United States Federal Trade Commission said it had started an investigation of crypto lending firm Voyager Digital parallel to the company’s bankruptcy proceedings.

In a Feb. 22 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the FTC said it was investigating Voyager and its employees “for their deceptive and unfair marketing of cryptocurrency to the public.” The announcement followed Bankruptcy Judge Michael Wiles initially approving of a plan in which Voyager debtors would sell the firm’s assets to Binance.US for more than $1 billion.

According to the FTC filing — an objection to the debtors’ plan — the commission argued some of the parties involved in Voyager’s bankruptcy proceedings should not be exempt from certain financial claims, “including debts for ‘false representation,’ and ‘false pretenses’”:

“By not excluding, inter alia, false pretenses and false representations, the release can be read to interfere with causes of action by a governmental unit like the FTC. This is impermissible […] the FTC respectfully requests the Court deny confirmation of the Debtors’ Proposed Plan.”

Voyager filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States in July 2022 prior to similar filings from Celsius Network, FTX and BlockFi. One of the proposed plans for restructuring the firm would have Binance.US acquire Voyager’s assets, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has objected to the move, citing a lack of “necessary information.”

Related: Voyager creditors serve SBF a subpoena to appear in court for a ‘remote deposition’

Bankruptcy proceedings for Celsius and FTX are also ongoing, with respective chief executive officers Alex Mashinsky and Sam Bankman-Fried facing scrutiny from U.S. authorities for their alleged actions prior to the companies filing for Chapter 11. Under Celsius’ proposed restructuring plan, more than 85% of users were expected to recover roughly 70% of their funds.

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