24option dismisses lawsuit against CFTC over Google subpoena

Maria Nikolova

The plaintiff, which said CFTC’s investigation was equal to harassment, did not elaborate on the reasons for the dismissal.

The legal action brought by Richfield Capital Limited, trading as 24option.com, against the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) did not last long. On Friday, March 16, 2018, the firm filed a Notice of Dismissal with the Illinois Northern District Court.

The Notice is brief, stating that:

“Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i), Petitioner Richfield Capital, Ltd. hereby notices its dismissal of the above-captioned action and the withdrawal of its Motion to Quash Subpoena, without prejudice”.

Let’s explain that the above-mentioned rule permits a plaintiff to dismiss a case before the defendant has filed any response.

The notice of dismissal is submitted with the Court less than a week since the Court Clerk entered an order of the case being referred to the Honorable Michael T. Mason. As per that order the CFTC’s response to the motion should be filed by April 2, 2018.

The action started on March 7, 2018, when the binary options firm filed a Motion with the Illinois Northern District Court, asking it to quash subpoena(s) issued to Google, Inc. on or about February 16, 2018.

According to the plaintiff, Google has sent an email to 24option stating as follows:

”Google has received a subpoena for information related to your Google account in a case entitled In the Matter of Certain Persons & Entities Engaged in Prohibited Off-Exchange Binary Options Transactions, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Division of Enforcement. This email serves as notice to you that Google may produce information related to your Google account in response to this subpoena…”

Richfield Capital says that because no one has provided a copy of the subpoena(s) to the respondent, the actual nature of the subpoena is uncertain. The firm argued that regardless of the nature of the documents, the subpoena(s) should be quashed because these subpoenas have an improper purpose. Also, Richfield Capital claimed that it is not subject to CFTC’s subject matter jurisdiction, as it is registered in Belize, and “thus any investigation here is harassment”, and the subpoena(s) likely calls for production of information barred by the Stored Communications Act.

While the CFTC properly may subpoena information regarding binary options trading, the Commission lacked any authority to do so beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, the firm claimed.

What this case shows is that the CFTC is currently taking action against binary options firms in US courts. There are still no details about the action entitled “In the Matter of Certain Persons & Entities Engaged in Prohibited Off-Exchange Binary Options Transactions”, but apparently some of the big names in the binary options industry are targeted.

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