The Dubai financial regulator have ordered the forex investment firm Exential Group to cease trading, pending an investigation of the Department of Economic Development (DED) into numerous complaints from investors, reports the online media Thenational.ae.
According to the publication, the broker, which is based in the tax-free zone Dubai Media City, was promising an annual return of up to 120% on investments in forex managed accounts, but when people tried to withdraw their money, payments dried up and they could not get in touch with the company.
On its website Exential Group claims the forex managed accounts are increasingly popular. “Remember, forex managed accounts can generate returns well above anything the mainstream investment firms offer you,” the website reads. “You supply the funds. We supply the trading skill, consistent returns, and low draw downs and losses to ensure your account grows steadily.” The minimum starting investment is $25 000. According to its performance stats, in 2015 the total average return for the 12 months was $21 338 and in 2014 – $22 343.
From the tales of the defrauded investors, it appears Exential Group operated like a Ponzi scheme at least since 2014 and initially has been paying off the promised sums. Mauzbeen Gulzar, for example, invested $40 000 into the scheme back in 2014, after a recommendation from a colleague. Initially Exential was paying returns of $1800 a month, which Gulzar decided to keep investing in the fund. Last year he withdrew $12 000. This year, however, payments dried up and when he asked to close his accounts and demanded his money, he never heard back from Exential.
At least Gulzar was investing his own money, while numerous cabin crew members of various airlines had borrowed money to “invest” in Exential, lured by tall tales of luxury life or hoping to earn some money to get married and get on with life. One Simon, for example, has invested 10 times his monthly income of around USD 4000. “So many colleagues have done the same thing. From what I understand, they have more than 7 000 clients,” he told The National.
People based in Dubai were not the only victims of Exential Group. It managed to defraud people in Nigeria and the Philippines as well and the business protection department of the DED calls on other defrauded investors to file a formal complaint with them.
Meanwhile, Exential Group issued a statement regarding the closure via social media: “The office was visited by DED and was ordered to close the office in result to the complaints which were submitted to DED by clients. We are working to resolve this situation at the earliest and we will be back to normal operations as soon as possible. This is normal practice by DED and will be resolved by us as we are committed to carry on the business. Any other information that states anything else is not accurate. We urge you to remain calm as we are working to resolve the issue.”