By Denise A. Valdez

THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered the shut down of cryptocurrency investment operator Payasian Pte. Ltd. Corp. for supposedly running the Paya platform without a license.

In a statement over the weekend, the corporate regulator said it issued a cease and desist order to Payasian on March 20, including anyone representing it such as partners, operators, directors, officers, salesmen agents, representatives, promoters and subsidiaries.

The order commands Payasian to “immediately cease and desist under pain of contempt from further engaging in, promoting and facilitating selling and/or offering for sale securities in the form of investment contracts and/or other activities/transactions.” It also restricts Payasian from transactions with funds in its depository banks.

The SEC said while Payasian is registered as a corporation, it does not have the secondary license needed to sell or offer securities.

Payasian allegedly operates an investment scheme by inviting the public to put their money in the company in exchange of getting passive and active income, through Paya tokens and recruitment bonuses. The SEC said this is considered offering and selling “securities in the form of investment contracts.”

The Securities Regulation Code (SRC) requires that companies selling securities obtain from the SEC a separate license to do so, and to register the securities before distribution.

“Without the registration statement duly filed with and approved by this Commission, Payasian’s act of selling/offering ‘Sharer Packages’ which are securities in the form of investment contracts constitutes a clear violation of (the SRC). This warrants and justifies the immediate issuance of a cease and desist order,” the SEC said, quoting the cease and desist order.

The SEC said Payasian offers “Sharer Packages” priced as low as P8,145 for 1,040 Paya tokens, equivalent to a maximum commission of P500 a day. An individual may invest up to P5.8 million to buy 740,749 Paya tokens, in exchange for getting a maximum commission of P10,000 a day.

In November 2019, the SEC has already issued an advisory against investing in Payasian, saying then that its operators claim to be connected to a certain Payasian Solutions Pte. Ltd. located in Singapore.

The known website of Payasian was no longer accessible as of Sunday morning.