15 Israel-based companies added to US financial watchdog’s ‘red list’
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Ten years after the first binary options company began operating in Israel, a year after The Times of Israel began relentlessly exposing the widely fraudulent industry, and a year, too, after the Israel Securities Authority ISA barred the firms from fleecing Israelis, the finance minister has signed off on draft legislation that would ban the entire industry, period. Ban it from operating anywhere in Israel. Ban it from targeting customers anywhere in the world. Thousands of Israelis have been going to work each day for the past blighted by scams why israels fx and binary industry is completely different, at call centers in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Ramat Gan, Caesarea and beyond, to dupe victims all over the world out of their money.
Ostensibly advising clients on lucrative short-term investments made via sophisticated trading platforms, the fraudulent salespeople in fact employ a variety of ruses — including lying about their identities, location and expertise, manipulating market figures, and flat out refusing to let customers withdraw their funds — to ensure that almost all of their clients lose all or almost all of their money.
This was in part because of our reporting, and in part because of the growing furor internationally at the Israel-based fraud, which in turn has brought pressure from the FBI and other international securities regulators. ISA chairman Shmuel Hauser last summer called the fraud disgusting and ruinous, and vowed to shut it down. Last month, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon signed off on the draft.
Two weeks ago, however, at the second special session of the State Control Committee dedicated to the issue, two advocates for the industry argued against an outright ban — managing to keep straight faces as they attempted to defend the morally indefensible. One of them rather desperately suggested that some of the thousands of Israeli Arabs employed by the industry blighted by scams why israels fx and binary industry is completely different, if rendered jobless, resort to nationalist crime.
New immigrants, widely employed in the field because of their English, French and other language skills, would be unable to find similarly well-paid jobs, he warned, again ignoring the corrosive immorality of the work. Office blocks would be emptied overnight, he argued, claiming that 20, Israelis are directly employed by the industry, and another 60, in related industries — figures far higher than some others cited by insiders.
Such assertions were waved away by Elharar and other officials at the meeting, long-since persuaded of the gravity of the fraud, who recognized them as self-serving arguments that seek to rationalize and normalize what is a widely criminal enterprise.
Did they come here to inflame anti-Semitism? Is that what they came to Israel for? In the days since that February 28 meeting, however, lobbyists and proponents of the industry have been working quietly behind the scenes to try to undermine support among ministers for the new legislation. They have repeated the argument that a ban would put large numbers of Israelis out of work. And they have pleaded that the binary options firms be regulated rather than closed down — a transparently pathetic delaying tactic given that it is the regulator, appalled by the fraud, who is the very official insistently moving to shutter the entire industry.
Israel has been down blighted by scams why israels fx and binary industry is completely different road before.
Inthen-MK Einat Wilf attempted to have fraudulent binary options and forex firms closed down, but was outflanked by its proponents. This time is a little different. This time, the legislation has been drawn up by state enforcement authorities, is supported by government and opposition, has been approved by the finance minister and is backed by the justice minister. But binary options advocates are well-funded and not unsophisticated.
They are not pushing for ministers or, at a later stage, for Knesset members to actually vote against the law. That would be too publicly embarrassing. Rather, they would have the legislation blighted by scams why israels fx and binary industry is completely different along the lengthy road to Knesset approval, tied up for weeks and months in proposed amendments, nitpicked and neutered and ultimately abandoned.
Binary options have been allowed to flourish in part because law enforcement in Israel is putting out so many fires in so many areas. Nobody is suggesting that law enforcement here turned a blind eye to a fraudulent plague because of political or other pressures. Allowed to continue, fraudulent binary options firms will reach out to anyone and everyone, anywhere and blighted by scams why israels fx and binary industry is completely different worldwide, with their well-honed routines for separating trusting individuals from hard-earned money, leaving a trail of ruined lives in their wake.
Allowed to continue, fraudulent binary options firms will make a mockery of the rule of law in this country and normalize criminality. Allowed to continue, fraudulent binary options firms will continue to seduce thousands of young Israelis into lives of crime.
The Times of Israel documented the tragic suicide of Fred Turbide in Canada three months ago after he was fleeced by an Israeli binary options firm. Current or former employees of fraudulent firms are also invited to do so.
The late Fred Turbide, who took his own life after he was fleeced by an Israeli binary options firm, with his wife Maria Chaves-Turbide Courtesy Allowed to continue, fraudulent binary options firms will reach out to anyone and everyone, anywhere and everywhere worldwide, with their well-honed routines for separating trusting individuals from hard-earned money, leaving a trail of ruined lives in their wake.