According to local media sources, the Hong Kong police detained two executives of the cryptocurrency exchange AAX on charges of fraud and misrepresenting the police.
On December 23, police detained former AAX CEO Thor Chan and Weigao Capital CEO Liang Haoming. Authorities in the area charged them with using "system maintenance" as a justification to prevent consumers from withdrawing assets when there were liquidity problems.
Additionally, one of the executives is accused of intentionally misleading law authorities by lying to them about the timeline of his activities while working for the company.
The executive's residences and two of AAX's bank accounts have all been blocked. Police estimate that a third executive travelled abroad with an AAX wallet and private keys that contained about $30 million in digital assets. The police took his properties in Hong Kong. Hong Kong authorities are actively collaborating with international investigators to trace the funds as part of the inquiry.
Since mid-November, the Hong Kong-based platform has been offline for "system maintenance," preventing 2 million registered users from accessing their money. Since then, victims in China, Taiwan, Italy, and France have reported more than 337 incidents to the local authorities.
On November 14, AAX stopped accepting withdrawals, citing a bug in the exchange's system upgrade. The company reassured its community that, contrary to reports, the withdrawal freeze had nothing to do with the demise of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
The vice president of global marketing and communications for AAX made his resignation known a few weeks later. Ben Caselin announced his departure from the cryptocurrency exchange on Twitter, explaining that despite his efforts to advance the community, his ideas were rejected. He called his position in communications "empty."