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Enforcement Roundup: February 2022

A wooden gavel with a stand represents securities-related enforcement activities in British Columbia.
The Enforcement Roundup is a monthly summary of enforcement activities in British Columbia taken by securities regulators.

In this edition of the Enforcement Roundup, we discuss enforcement activities from the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) and additions to the Investment Caution List. We also highlight one enforcement decision from the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA). 

BCSC Enforcement

BCSC Sanctions

Zahir “Zip” Dhanani, Robert Naso, Arian Resources Corp.

A BCSC panel has imposed $400,000 in combined penalties on Dhanani and Naso for failing to disclose information, concealing financial losses and making false or misleading statements.

The panel also permanently banned Dhanani and Naso and their since-dissolved company, Arian Resources Corp. from participating in various market activities.

In addition to the administrative penalty, Dhanani, Arian’s Chief Executive Officer, and Naso, Arian’s Chief Financial Officer are subject to various permanent market bans. The panel also permanently banned Arian from trading in or purchasing any securities or derivatives, becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter, and engaging in promotional activities. This replaces a 2017 cease trade order imposed by the BCSC against the company.

Read the news release for full details.

BCSC Settlement Agreements

Peterson Investment Holdings Inc., Peterson Investment Group Inc.

The BCSC entered into settlement agreements with two members of the Peterson group of companies, Peterson Investment Holdings Inc. and Peterson Investment Group Inc. Peterson Holdings invests in and holds title to income-producing real estate properties and development sites, while Peterson Investment pools together money from investors to lend as mortgages.

The companies have agreed to pay a combined $205,000 to the BCSC for trading in securities without being registered. As part of the settlement agreement, Peterson Holdings must pay $115,000 to the BCSC, and Peterson Investment must pay $90,000.

Peterson Holdings made early admissions with respect to its misconduct and fully cooperated with the Commission’s review of these matters. In addition, the Peterson Group registered a new Exempt Market Dealer firm, through which it will trade securities. 

Read the news release for full details.

MFDA Enforcement

MFDA Decision and Reasons

Adeleke Olanrewaju

An MFDA panel outlined its findings of misconduct and confirmed sanctions imposed on Olanrewaju, who conducted business out of the Vancouver, B.C. area. In particular, Olanrewaju must pay a $85,000 fine and $10,000 in costs. He has been permanently prohibited from conducting securities-related business in any capacity while in the employ of or associated with a member of the MFDA.

Read the news release for full details.

BCSC Early Intervention

Investment Caution List

The BCSC publishes an Investment Caution List to notify British Columbians about unqualified investments and unregistered activity originating from outside of the province that accept BC residents as clients.

Below are the February additions to the Investment Caution List.

Goldingfx claims to be located in the Marshall Islands and it claims to offer accounts for trading in forex, commodities, stocks, indices and bitcoin.

SPS Fund claims to be based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and it claims to offer accounts for trading in forex, commodities, stocks, indices and cryptocurrencies.

Forexlegaltrade claims to be located in California, USA and it also claims to offer packages for bitcoin trading.

CentoGX claims to have offices in the United Kingdom, Poland, Spain and Canada. It claims to offer accounts for trading in forex, CFD and cryptocurrency.

CoinBest claims to operate an online cryptocurrency trading platform and we are aware that CoinBest accepts British Columbia (BC) residents as clients.

Intellect Trades claims to be based in New Zealand and it claims to offer investment packages with different rates of return.

BitOpps claims to be located in the St. Vincent and Grenadine and it also claims to offer accounts for cryptocurrency trading.

Sunton Capital Ltd. claims to offer investment services in forex, precious metals, indices and commodities.

Greenetic Energy claims to be located in New York, USA and it also claims to offer “short, medium and long –term, high-yield crypto and save energy investments to the general public”.

Flash Hill Trades claims to be based in Toronto, Ontario and it claims to offer investment packages with different rates of return.

Smart Trade Group claims to be based in Europe and it claims to offer investment services in CFD and forex.

Report a Concern

If you have any concerns about a person or company offering an investment opportunity, please contact BCSC Inquiries at 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 or through e-mail at [email protected]. You can also file a complaint or submit a tip anonymously using the BCSC’s online complaint form.

InvestRight.org is the British Columbia Securities Commission’s investor education website. Subscribe to receive email updates from BCSC InvestRight.

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