The Premier League club announced a deal with 3Key on 11th November, designating the firm as an ‘official regional partner in decentralised finance trading analysis’. At the time, the announcement did not state which region the agreement applied to.

A statement from 3Key’s founder, Oliver Chen, said that the company was ‘in a startup phase with a product due to launch in the coming months’ and that the partnership with City would be in ‘regions outside the UK’.

Further doubts were soon cast on 3Key when it emerged that the company’s website contained no contact details, registered office or company number. Its named staff also appeared to have no digital footprint. In the same week, websites associated with 3Key went temporarily offline.

City later sent a letter, seen by investigative reporter Martin Calladine, which identified Oliver Chen as 3Key’s owner and claimed the new business was based in the Seychelles. However, the letter contained no contact details or company number, meaning nothing could be verified. Having been contacted by Calladine, Chen has so far failed to prove his business is actually real.

According to The Times, City said they would not activate any products or services linked to the partnership until they were satisfied relevant regulations had been met. However, the club has now taken the decision to suspend the deal, pending further investigations.

‘Manchester City conducts due diligence in respect of all of its partnerships,’ read a statement from a club spokesperson.

‘Manchester City’s partnership with 3Key Technologies has been announced but has not been activated in respect of any specific products or services in any part of the world.

‘Prompted by the club’s interactions with 3Key Technologies in recent days, Manchester City is now conducing further enquiries regarding 3Key Technologies and the partnership has been suspended pending satisfactory resolution all of those enquiries.’

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