After a decade, Israel bans scam that bilked millions worldwide binary industry. - THE LATEST NEWS HEADLINES TODAY

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

After a decade, Israel bans scam that bilked millions worldwide binary industry.

After a decade, Israel bans scam that bilked millions worldwide binary industry.
JERUSALEM — Israel’s multibillion-dollar binary options industry, which has scammed
millions around the world over the past decade, is out of business. On Monday, …
.
The Azrieli Towers standing over Tel Aviv in 2010. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
JERUSALEM — Israel’s multibillion-dollar binary options industry, which has scammed millions around the world over the past decade, is out of business.

On Monday, the Knesset unanimously passed a law to ban the industry, with 53 votes in favor and none against. By the time the measure goes into effect in three months, all binary options firms will have to shutter. Individuals who stay involved in the industry will face up to two years in jail.

  We worry about the BDS movement,” Knesset member Rachel Azaria of the Kulanu party said in her introduction to the law. “This industry has a huge impact on how Israel is viewed throughout the world. Our government officials go to international conferences and their colleagues abroad raise their eyebrows because of this industry.”


Only a handful of Israelis have been arrested for binary options fraud, and none have been indicted, even as international law enforcement against the industry has ramped up. In August, Israel Police Superintendent Gabi Biton said Israeli organized crime was being massively enriched and strengthened because of law enforcement’s failure to grasp the scope of the problem.

Binary options are marketed as a financial instrument that can yield big returns fast. The companies’ websites allow clients to place bets on whether a commodity, like a stock or trading index, will increase or decrease in value over a short time period. In most cases, though, clients lose all or nearly all the money they invested because the game is rigged.

Salespeople regularly use false identities and misrepresent their location, credentials and product.

A Hong Kong woman who asked to remain anonymous lost about $10 million to an Israel-based binary options company over the past two years. Aggressive and dishonest salespeople bilked her of her life savings, the unmarried retiree said, as well as millions of dollars lent by family and friends.

The cost is not just money. I lost my peace of mind. I’m very jumpy. My health has deteriorated,” she told JTA in April. “The burden of having to repay my family is weighing on me every day.

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