FTX used former Wirecard partner to process Chinese payments

Australian bank Cuscal was listed in FTX’s bankruptcy filings as one of the group’s banking partners. It was listed alongside Omipay, an Australian payments processor that focuses on offering payments to and from China.

Update 10:47AM UTC: Cuscal claimed in a letter sent to Protos that they have not provided any services to FTX, that no FTX customer funds with Cuscal, and that Cuscal has no relationship with Omipay, Bano, or Monix/Monixfin. When Protos asked for clarification because Bano, an authorized representative of Omipay, listed Cuscal in their Product Disclosure Statement, Cuscal responded: “This statement has not been included with Cuscal’s awareness. It is not correct or authorised and we will engage with them to have the PDS corrected. Omipay does not have a relationship with Cuscal. Cuscal does not offer retail banking services.”  

Protos also asked Cuscal: If Cuscal was providing services for a payments processor who FTX relied on, would Cuscal be aware that they were providing services to FTX/Alameda Research? To which they responded: Cuscal has limited visibility of the customers of our customers or customers of our customers’ customers and Cuscal has no ability to control beyond its direct clients. Cuscal directly contracts with its customers who are then responsible for the onboarding of their customers. 

When Protos asked Cuscal why they thought they might be listed in the FTX bankruptcy they responded: Cuscal client’s sometimes use an “off-system BSB” service to allocate virtual account numbers to their clients to ensure that deposits can be automatically reconciled. This uses a Cuscal BSB and settles in aggregate to a Cuscal client’s account. Deposits to FTX may have been made via use of a Cuscal BSB. The bankruptcy executors may have accordingly incorrectly considered this to be an account of FTX at Cuscal. 

Omipay also works with authorized representatives like Bano which provide other payment services, and it operates payment platform Monix/Monixfin. Protos previously reported that FTX used Monix to access banking services in Australia.

Omipay is a major payments processor for China and is one of the global remittances partners for Tencent’s WeChat Pay. The company trumpets the simplicity of its payments processing system when compared to its competitors.

Image from omipay.net.

Monix provided a way for FTX customers to deposit Australian Dollars into FTX before the collapse. Global Remit — one of the customers that provided a testimonial on Monix’s website — describes how Monix enables it to “gain rapid access to local bank systems of many countries.” The testimonial also brags that its “global real-name bank accounts have increased the retention rate of clients.”

Monix also advertises that it can “create bank accounts for clients abroad without the need for new infrastructure.”

Cuscal itself has had a number of brushes with scandal, including being one of the Australian banks that accepted payments for Wirecard merchant terminals and issued Wirecard branded prepaid cards. Wirecard itself also served the same role that Omipay now serves, as one of Tencent’s global remittances partners for WeChat Pay.

Read more: Alameda bought this obscure OTC desk to handle FTX banking

It’s currently unclear what amount of FTX customer funds remains with Cuscal, Omipay, or Monix.

Protos has reached out to Cuscal and Omipay/Monix for comment and to find out more about the services Monix provided to FTX. We’ll update if we hear back.

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