‘Killers having lunch’
A Yukom corporate video shows top-performing staff receiving BMWs tied up with ribbons last summer, and in November 2015 Yukom flew some 30 employees to the Greek island of Rhodes for a holiday. Yukom says the cars were leased, not given, to “excellent and ethical employees”.
In March this year Lee Elbaz took 10 of her Yukom team to see Jordan Belfort – the man convicted of a $100 million fraud who the film Wolf of Wall Street was based on – give a talk in Tel Aviv.
One salesman posted pictures on Facebook of the Yukom team at a restaurant with the caption “killers having lunch” – a phrase used in the film. Another Yukom salesman is currently advertising on Facebook for new English-speaking Yukom staff who “love money more than anything”.
David said Yukom staff advised clients on trading strategy, carried out trades on their customers’ behalf, and managed customer accounts. He also claimed the employees decided whether or not to allow clients to withdraw their money when they asked to.
“When a client places a withdrawal your job as a rep is to prevent that happening,” David said. “If the client is really difficult they get forwarded to the brand manager.” The brand managers got bigger salaries if they persuaded clients to stay, he claimed.
Yukom’s company lawyer denied this, insisting the companies which owned the binary options websites were the ones which managed customer accounts and made the decisions on withdrawals.
David also claimed it was the job of one Yukom staff member to persuade banks and credit card companies not to refund money to customers who claimed to have been defrauded.
Herzog’s lawyer told the Bureau “The employees of Linkopia and Yukom have never prevented a client’s withdrawal and will not provide services to any broker who does so”. Binarybook has “performed over 19,500 withdrawal requests in the last 12 months,” he said, adding that “[they] are processed within 24 hours; any other claim is untrue.”
US authorities have banned binary options call centres targeting their citizens. Earlier this year one operator, Banc de Binary, paid $11 million to US authorities to settle claims of illegal activities in the country.
But both Haji and David claim some BinaryBook personnel sought US clients in breach of American law. Haji says he personally called clients in the USA when he was at Linkopia. David says the night shift in his call centre was known as the “money shift” because that was when rich US clients could be targeted.
BinaryBook features on a US government list of organisations that authorities have “reason to believe are soliciting and accepting funds from U.S. residents” illegally.
Herzog’s lawyer said Yukom had never solicited US clients and that the brokers the company worked with did not allow people with US binary options accounts to access their websites.
“If a person places a trade, and loses, he needs to take responsibility for placing the trade,” he said. “People enjoy learning the capital markets and perform[ing] trading; The platform provider cannot be accountable for their losses and is not the clients’ “insurance company”.”