Free Shopify, an online marketplace for online shopping, is being taken offline by the British government for violating anti-money laundering laws.
The company is the latest in a string of UK technology startups to be taken offline.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ruled that the company’s online shopping service was an illegal money laundering operation last month, citing data it says shows it was used to buy and sell illegal goods, including child pornography.
The ICO said the company used a payment processing service that was used for illegal activities and a data extraction system that was being used to generate false sales information.
Free Shopify was the third UK technology startup to be shut down by the ICO, following InVision and Pimpernel, which are both based in the United Kingdom.
The agency said Free Shopie did not have a financial structure or ownership structure, nor did it have a corporate entity.
Free Shop has a market capitalisation of £15.5 million, according to its latest annual report.
FreeShopify has said it will appeal the decision.
The move follows a number of high-profile tech startups, including Facebook, Spotify, and eBay, having been shut down in the UK since last year, after the ICO ruled that their products were illegal.
In a statement, Free Shop said it has received a number from the ICO that “clearly demonstrate our products were not being used for legitimate purposes.”
Free Shop also said it intends to appeal the ICO’s decision.
“We believe that we have the right to be able to continue operating and are confident that we can win this case.
We believe that our appeal will be heard in due course,” Free Shop added.
Free shop is a free product advertising platform that has grown over the last year and is popular with tech companies, but the ICO said it had been the subject of “overwhelming scrutiny” by the UK’s regulators.
The IPO also accused Free Shop of violating the Proceeds of Crime Act (PCA), which states that an enterprise that provides goods or services must be registered as a money laundering organization and provide a mechanism for users to report suspicious activity.
The decision means that businesses can no longer advertise their products or services to the public or in media.