In a story that began late last year, and escalated six months ago, investors of Dubai based MMA Forex have begun to take matters in their own hands after the broker has refused to pay back deposits. MMA Forex, which is owned by Malik Noureed Awan, provided online forex trading services as well as managed accounts, and claimed to be transacting $20B in volume per month. The online broker is part of the MMA Group businesses which include interests in airlines, heavy machinery, and advertising. With investors unable to withdraw funds, the company is being exposed as a fraud, which has led to the investigation of the broker by the local police ,and the detention of Awan by authorities.
Big Profits – No Experience Needed
Marketing high returns with its managed account, MMA Forex targeted the massive foreign worker population in Dubai as well as low- income individuals with claims of guaranteed returns. In its self-trading division, the broker is accused of following the path of unregulated forex bucker shops and soliciting uneducated investors about the benefits of trading in forex, and then manipulating accounts.
According to Dubai based sources, MMA Forex is one of many unregulated brokers operating in the region. In MMA Forex’s case, the broker primarily cold called prospective clients while keeping a low profile of its existence within Dubai. However, in Pakisan, where MMA Group businesses have a larger exposure, the broker leveraged the group’s companies to market its operations, and was apparently well known in and around Islamabad.
After creating a relationship with clients, MMA Forex would urge customers for referrals. Using this system of curating trust, MMA continued to target uneducated investors, while staying below the radar of authorities. Using examples of customers who had received high payouts, Gulf media outlets have reported that investors were even taking loans to reinvest in MMA Forex accounts.
Another HYIP Disaster
Similar to other high yield investment programs (HYIP), MMA Forex was exposed as being a scam as customers began to report that they were no longer being paid. As a result, investors began to use the internet to gather and report their situation. Facebook became the place of choice for clients. Using Facebook, the social network became a center for clients to post their claims against the broker in MMA’s and Awan’s Facebook pages. On Facebook, existed a back and forth dialogue between angry clients, ‘supposed’ happy customers, Awan, and MMA Forex.
While the majority of comments have been removed from Awan’s page, he insisted that the claims were the result of extortionists. However, even on the broker’s official page, employees also claimed to have been ripped off by Awan, as he fled the country and funneled money back to his home country Pakistan.
Investigation and Detainment
With the losses, investors approached local authorities, with police beginning an investigation. As the case continued, clients continued to become more vocal by banding together with their claims. Following the investigations, Gulf News has reported that Awan has been detained by police in response to the allegations against him and MMA Forex. With his detainment, more former customers have come out with their claims against MMA Forex, and are demanding justice.
On his personal Facebook page and on MMA Group pages, Awan continues to plead his innocence. According to his comments, customers will all be paid back once the police end their investigation in 30-50 days. On Facebook, Awan was all ‘business as usual’ and surprisingly continues to promote MMA Forex to prospective clients along with MMA Group’s other businesses.
With the case pending to hit the courts, the story is now in the hands of local authorities. For investors, MMA Forex proves once again the risks of HYIPs and how they are doomed to fail. On the other side of the story, is what appears to be an arrogant owner of large groups of businesses who is building his empire based on lies and deceit, while stepping on the unfortunate as he rises higher.