Bankrupt cryptocurrency platform Celsius receives subpoena from US grand jury

US prosecutors and several federal regulators are seeking information from bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network.

The enquiries, which were disclosed in court filings this month, provide a glimpse into the legal headaches that Celsius faces as it seeks to restructure.

The company froze customer withdrawals in June in a bid to evade a panic run by users, then filed for bankruptcy in July.

Celsius has been one of the more high-profile casualties of a steep selloff in digital assets that was fuelled in part by May’s collapse of the Terra blockchain.

Since declaring insolvency, Celsius has faced criticism from users over its marketing and management and is exploring a sale of some or all of its assets.

The firm, which rocketed in popularity for paying people interest on virtual token deposits, received a federal grand jury subpoena on June 15, according to a document filed last week by lawyers for Celsius in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan. The subpoena came from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The company also received inquiries from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission, according to a separate filing from the lawyers.

One CFTC enquiry focused on trading activities related to TerraUSD and its sister token, Luna. Another one, according to the document, was titled “In the Matter of Certain Pending Persons Engaged In Fraud And Other Unlawful Conduct With Respect to Digital Asset Transactions”, the filing said.

Celsius said in a statement that it’s “co-operating with all regulatory inquiries, and regulators are key stakeholders in our reorganisation”. The company declined to comment on the specifics of any inquiries.

The SEC, CFTC and FTC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The SDNY declined to comment.

Updated: October 15, 2022, 12:40 PM