Much in line with the famous saying “If you want nothing done, form a committee” Israel’s Knesset State Control Committee that oversees the country’s executive branch, decided to convene again on the subject of binary options fraud. According to The Times of Israel, the meeting will be held sometime in February.
The first meeting of the committee on the subject of binary options fraud was called in in the end of December and took place on January 2.
Karine Elharar, chair of the committee and member of the opposition center party Yesh Atid, told the media that she expects at that meeting to see some progress towards new legislation against the binary options companies committing fraud and enforcement action from the police, as per the current legislation. “We must advance legislation,” she said, “but before then we must use the enforcement tools at our disposal, because this is simply terrible.”
Meanwhile, during the first meeting of the committee on the subject, were heard testimonials of a binary options fraud victim, a former employee of a binary options broker call center, the head of Israel’s Securities Authority (ISA), Shmuel Hauser and representatives of the country’s prosecutor’s office.
Adam Nujidat who used to work in a binary options firm told the committee how he took a job with it without knowing what exactly it was, but got upset. “No customer ever made a profit in the company where I worked. I never saw it,” Nujidat said.
A journalist from The Times of Israel, David Horovitz, also gave testimony based on his investigations on the matter. According to him, Israel’s binary options industry has friends in high places and enjoys a significant level protection.
“You have to understand that binary options crooks are very powerful in Israel; they have connections to very prominent people. Parts of the Israeli government have actually helped encourage their activities,” Horovitz said. “The firms pay for the most expensive lawyers to battle people who try to expose them. Some of the firms give money to charities, which gives them access to and influence with the most prominent people in Israel.”
Horovitz’s claim was substantiated by Bobby Ben Hur, an activist on behalf of the binary options industry victims, who noted that many people have gone to the police with evidence, but the police has done nothing. “The Israeli government is giving shelter to these companies,” he said. According to The Times of Israel, however, no representatives of the police were present at the meeting and the Interior Ministry declined to comment on the matter.
A victim of an Israeli binary options company OptionsXO, Graham Towler, 82, told the committee how he was duped out of £70 000. “I have to continue to work at the age of 82 to recover some of the debt I am in,” he told the panel.
Meanwhile, ISA’s head Shmuel Hauser said they were working on new legislation banning the activities of the binary options industry.
The binary options brokers who are forbidden from offering their services in Israel, but are largely based in the country, operate with Cyprus licenses. Their call centers for soliciting unsuspecting victims, are mostly based in Israel. According to The Times of Israel’s estimates, there are at least 100 binary options brokers who are either based in the country or are somehow connected to it and make anywhere between $1 billion and $10 billion per annum. The number of people employed in those call centers is in the thousands.