Representatives of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), accompanied by Israeli police officers, showed up at the headquarters of a known binary options and CFDs platform provider yesterday (Monday). This surprise visit to the binary options platform provider’s office in Ramat Gan, Israel, was another chapter in the ongoing Lee Elbaz investigation.
The company representatives cooperated fully with the authorities, in accordance with the law, answered their questions and shared documents and other company materials related to the case.
This drastic move was apparently a part of the FBI’s ongoing investigations into binary options companies that are allegedly illegally accepting client deposits from the US.
The investigation was made public in late September last year, when Lee Elbaz, CEO of Yukom, a binary options technology provider, was arrested in New York on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to facilitate wire fraud. Yukom’s clients, Eagle Option and BinaryBook, allegedly targeted clients in the US without having the appropriate license.
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The FBI based its suspicions on the content of a confidential email correspondence between the platform provider and BinaryBook, which it obtained from Google. Furthermore, according to data collected by the FBI, between the second quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter of 2016 BinaryBook received $98.9 million in deposits, though it’s not clear how much of this sum was deposited by US citizens.
In late November, Finance Magnates reported that the platform provider is set to close all of its binary options-related activities in Israel, as part of a dramatic series of changes undertaken in an attempt to keep pace with the evolving regulatory framework.
This move was another attempt by the financial services provider to align with the tough regulations imposed by the Israeli Securities Authority (ISA), led by the hawkish Prof. Shmuel Hauser. Israel is considered to be one of the toughest countries in the world with regard to regulating binary options trading, having banned the industry altogether.