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For some time Banc de Binary succeeded in defrauding hundreds of people with its well-practised tactics; locating to countries with little or no regulatory capacity or ability to pursue the principal perpetrators of the frauds, such as the Republic of the Seychelles. The ensuing legal cases and enforcement actions following the collapse of Banc de Binary produced some money, a woefully small amount set against the annual earnings of Banc de Binary, in restitution for the victims only in the USA.
Banc de Binary traded globally leaving thousands of victims outside the USA with nothing. Binary options, the largely discredited type of investment trading, was known for widespread fraud and practised by many unregulated bogus investment brokers working in locations out of the reach of the regulators. Regulators throughout the world are facing an unprecedented level of financial fraud and FCA provides guidance and a warning list of traders to avoid.
The nature of this type of investment fraud where an individual is coerced into paying money to a broker believing that they are trading on the markets, which, it should be noted are flagged as capable of falling as well as rising, means that the fraud must be demonstrated with clear evidence showing that the investor was not simply a victim of the fluctuating markets. Smallbones explained that it is common practice for editors to propose deleting Wikipedia articles that seem to have been created for purposes of self-promotion or advertising and that lack objective information from a reliable news source.
Undeclared paid editors are not allowed to contribute to any of these sites. Advertising, marketing, and public relations text is prohibited by Wikipedia policy. In addition, editors with a conflict of interest for instance, individuals editing their own Wikipedia pages are strongly discouraged from working on those articles where they cannot be objective. However, they are permitted to make suggestions on the talk page.
According to Smallbones, the flurry of activity surrounding the Banc De Binary article began when the US government filed civil charges against the company in June , accusing it of illegally offering US investors binary options without being registered. John Berry, a senior lawyer for the U. Securities and Exchange Commission, said in a May interview with BBC radio that not only had Banc De Binary sold ostensible financial products to investors without being licensed to do so, but it had deceived those investors as well:.
Another brand that appears to be associated with Banc De Binary, Option. Over the next 11 months, over edits would be made to the article, an unusually high number. According to the Signpost article, over 20 separate sockpuppets were banned from Wikipedia after editing this article.
On January 9, , the company announced that it would be closing because of negative press coverage and its tarnished reputation. But Smallbones says a long and exhausting battle was waged over several years to get the page to its present state. The main thing they were trying to do was take the information out or put it down at the bottom of the article where no one would read it.
Smallbones recalled an argument with a suspected sockpuppet who made the claim that the information should be removed because the CFTC is not a reliable source whereas Finance Magnates — a trade publication for the binary options and forex industries — is. It was totally impossible to figure out what everybody wanted. The Wikipedia page in question was the Banc De Binary page and the five-figure sum was offered on a freelancer site to anyone who could rewrite the article in a way that removed the negative coverage, Smallbones told The Times of Israel.
And we had to put in as much time as they did, even more, because if we want to correct something, often we correct it two or three different times because there are a few editors with different points of view. Banc De Binary is not alone. Smallbones said that paid editing on Wikipedia is rampant in the binary options and retail forex industries. Many Wikipedia articles for such websites get deleted soon after they are put up, he said, because Wikipedia administrators strongly suspect they are created by paid editors for advertising purposes.
In a post from September , a Wikipedia editor recommended several binary options and forex company pages for deletion only an administrator, a Wikipedia editor with special privileges, can perform the actual deletion , because the editor believed the entries had been created by sockpuppets or suspected paid editors. These included entries for binary and forex firms Spotware Systems Ltd. Fraudulent binary options firms also employ an army of SEO search engine optimization specialists, who ensure that the warnings of government regulators or negative press are buried far down in Google search results.
But beyond that, some in the industry create fake news sites with an ostensibly large readership, featuring ostensible news reports that appear in Google News about the purported advantages of binary options trading. Some firms pay for sponsored content on mainstream news sites, hire expensive lobbyists and PR firms, cozy up to politicians and donate money to charities.
Some companies have managed to get their own executives to appear as talking heads on mainstream television financial programs. If some of these efforts sound reminiscent of the recent outbreak of fraudulent and polluted content stemming from Russia, among other actors, this may be because the binary options industry has a significant Russian component. Beyond the Israeli call centers and marketers who commit binary options fraud, many of the investors or ultimate beneficiary owners of binary options companies are Russian.
Several Russian-owned forex companies, like Forex Club and Master Forex, have partnered with the Israeli platform provider SpotOption to create their own binary options brands, such as option4trade and mfxoptions. A number of Russian-linked binary options firms, like option4trade and IQ Option, are hosted by the Russian-owned web hosting company Webzilla.
Webzilla, whose owner Alexey Gubarev recently sued Buzzfeed for publishing his name in the unverified Trump dossier , has made no secret that forex companies are among its major clients.