Justin Sun, founder and CEO of Tron, has landed himself in a tough spot as the 21st Century Herald levied a bevy of accusations at him, including money laundering among others. Sun has been staying in the limelight for his upcoming crypto power lunch with the American billionaire Warren Buffett that was scheduled to take place tomorrow, July 25.
However, after inviting all his chosen guests to dine with him, he postponed the lunch due to health issues. According to an official Twitter post, Sun is currently out of commission due to kidney stones and associated parties have agreed to reschedule the lunch.
But reports by the Chinese financial publication suggest that there’s a different story altogether behind the postponement. Only hours after Sun postponed his highly anticipated lunch, the 21st Century Herald raised some rather bizarre allegations against him, implying that the matter wasn’t as simple as some medical issues. The published article accuses the Tron chief of operating an illegal fundraising project when he launched the initial coin offering (ICO) for TRX back in 2017.
Furthermore, the article also claimed that Sun’s Tron blockchain failed to hold back Chinese residents from gaining access to illegal gambling services that run on the project’s blockchain, implying that Sun allowed the Tron blockhain to host and offer unlawful gambling services.
Moreover, his social media startup Peiwo also came under fire. Sun founded Peiwo, which is an application aspiring to become the Snapchat for China. It matches and connects users by analyzing voice samples as well as interests for about 10 seconds. The app, since its launch, has introduced a multitude of channels aimed at users for making like-minded friends via online games, talent shows and live streaming. Reportedly, it has successfully matched more than 4 billion chats up till now. The report by Herald accuses Peiwo of illegally aiding the pornography industry.
Further reports followed suit and soon after a local media outlet, Caixen, reported that Sun had allegedly been barred by the authorities from leaving China because his name happens to be on a government “exit ban” list in China, which is the equivalent of the USA’s “no-fly list”. Hence many reports claim that Justin Sun is in fact still on Chinese grounds.
On the other hand, according to The Block, anonymous sources have revealed that Justin Sun is not in China, rather in the United States. In fact, he’s reportedly in San Francisco where the now-postponed lunch extravaganza was to be hosted. However, it is difficult to know for sure his exact whereabouts as Sun’s location has not been known publicly for a few weeks now.
Justin Sun responded to the allegations made by the media outlet in a Weibo post, denying all accusations and his involvement in illegal practices. He maintains in his post that the illegal fundraising accusations are false, explaining that since the Chinese government put a blanket ban on initial coin offerings back in September 2017, the Tron Foundation returned all the funds.
He further addressed the money laundering accusations and called them baseless since the Tron Foundation is based in Singapore and thoroughly complies with the local regulations. It also does not involve any fiat in any on- or off-ramp services, according to Sun.
Justin then went on to address the allegation related to Peiwo for facilitating illegal porn-related transactions. He explained that the social media company collaborates with regulators as it monitors its users and tries its best to ensure that the content on the app is positive. In addition to specifically addressing each allegation, Sun also clarified that the Tron Foundation opposes the unlawful use of the Tron protocol. He also added:
We understand the concerns over the development of blockchain technology, and we are willing to open up and communicate to jointly promote the development of blockchain technology in China
Whether the allegations are true or false is still undecided but it seems that investors aren’t sticking around to find out. Tron started plummeting down only minutes after Sun announced the postponement of his lunch with Buffet and the price has plunged by about 16.58% over the past 24 hours.
However, things are starting to look up for Tron and Justin Sun as he launched a live video on Twitter to deny rumors that he was prevented from leaving China by local authorities. He also posted a picture of him and his “bodyguard” Cliff Edwards, the Tron director of communications, keeping the Bay Bridge in the background to prove that he was in fact in the United States.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) July 23, 2019
Tron’s price on the charts started recovering after Sun’s tweet; at press time, Tron is up about 2.27% over the past hour, while still seeing losses of over 13% on the day.