Taiwan prosecutors target 20-year sentences for ACE exchange suspects

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Prosecutors in Taiwan are recommending a minimum 20-year prison sentence for the four main suspects in the fraud and money laundering case related to the cryptocurrency trading platform ACE Exchange.

According to a local news report, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office indicted 32 people on fraud and money laundering charges, including ACE Exchange founder David Pan, his business partner, Lin Keng-hong, and prominent attorney Wang Chen-huan, who served as chairman of the exchange.

The prosecutors now believe that over 1,200 individuals were deceived, resulting in an estimated total loss of 800 million New Taiwan dollars (US$24.56 million). This is an increase from the previous estimated loss of 340 million New Taiwan dollars ($10.6 million).

According to the report, the increased scale of the losses justifies the sentence recommendation. The prosecutors also recommended at least 12 years for Wang, considering his status as a director of a well-known law firm and his alleged vital role in assisting the scheme.

In January 2024, Taipei City police arrested Pan and 14 others linked to the case, conducting raids at various sites, including Ace’s headquarters. Investigations revealed Pan’s association with the fraudulent crypto wallet service known as “Alfred” or “Afu wallet,” along with a related crypto card.

According to the prosecutors, in 2019, the suspects promoted investments in NFTC tokens, bitnature coins, mochange — a token from ACE Exchange, and other tokens, using white papers and promotional materials to enhance their credibility.

Related: Taiwan to introduce new digital currency laws in September: Report

During their promotional efforts, Pan and Lin aimed to develop ACE Exchange into Asia’s most comprehensive blockchain ecosystem for crypto trading. However, many investors experienced a sharp decline in token value. They were unable to convert them back to New Taiwan dollars as guaranteed, prompting them to file complaints for a legal investigation.

A Taiwanese court reportedly ruled that the defendant’s property should be seized, with some confiscated assets amounting to at least 3.5 million New Taiwan dollars or $110,000.

In response to the indictment, Ace Exchange published a statement on April 8, reiterating that Pan and his fraudulent activity had nothing to do with the platform, as he reportedly ceased to be involved in day-to-day operations in 2022.

Ace Exchange is a lesser-known centralized crypto exchange based in Taiwan. According to data from CoinMarketCap, the platform was launched in late 2018 and trades around $14 million per day. According to data from Traders Union, Ace Exchange should be considered a “high-risk cryptocurrency exchange” with a trust score of 2.78 out of 10.

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