“Pre-determined profits” and “easy withdrawals”
John Price a 69-year-old from Rutland who has cancer, says he also fell victim to BinaryBook’s sales tactics. He says he made an initial investment of £250 after being cold-called in January 2015, and went on to invest about £8,000 more.
BinaryBook sent him documents promising “pre-determined profits” and “easy withdrawals”. He withdrew about £2,500 earlier this year but his remaining investment did not do what he hoped. When he saw his account balance stood at just £3,500 last month, he tried to cash out.
Emails seen by the Bureau show Price’s account manager, who called himself a “senior broker and trading group manager” refused to let Price withdraw his money unless he accepted his call. When the pair finally spoke the broker persuaded Price to continue trading.
“I told him that I couldn’t afford to lose the £3,500 but he assured me that the trades were safe and that there was a 700% profit due to me,” Price said. “I am not normally a naïve person but they were so persuasive.”
But BinaryBook.com is still operating and is challenging the liquidators’ actions. It has asked for the winding up to be halted and numerous bank accounts associated with WSB Investment – some of which hold large offshore funds – to be unfrozen.
A spokesman for BinaryBook told the Bureau the winding up was due to “confusion”. He said BinaryBook was not operated by WSB Investment Ltd but by a parent company of the same name: a firm incorporated in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The UK company has never held or operated BinaryBook’s brand or website or engaged with any end user,” he said.
“The winding up you refer to is a result of confusion made by one of the clients and we are working on solving the matter in the court of law.”
The corporate structures behind unregulated binary options outfits usually involve several international jurisdictions, including secretive tax havens, meaning the identity of the companies which actually own them is often totally obscured.
But one aspect of the sector’s operations is more visible. Sales are usually outsourced to third party call centres, which often tend to be based in Israel – the capital of the global binary options industry – and Romania.