Financial services domains blocked by Consob rise to 708

abdelaziz Fathi

In yet another episode in a long-running campaign, the Italian financial regulator, Consob, once again blocked access to a number of investment websites, including those holding licenses in other jurisdictions.

Consob

The watchdog added six domains to its register of banned internet sources for illegally promoting trading products in the country.

Italian investors have been warned not to take out any financial services from Tetris Group Ltd (website https://clydetrade.io and related page https://webtrader.clydetrade.cc); “Bitaroma” (website www.bitaroma.net); “Finomarkets” (website https://finomarkets.info); ETA Ltd” (website www.etalimited.io and related pages https://client.etalimited.io, https://client.etaltd.io and https://webtrader.etalimited.io); Invest Union Ltd” and “UBSblockchains” (website www.investunionltd.com and related page https://client.investunionltd.com).

The number of sites blacked out since July 2019, when Consob got the power to ban the websites of financial intermediaries it deems unregulated, has risen to 708.

Today’s blacklisted sites offer forex and CFDs trading, but the CONSOB says some of the names featured in the warning are dealing in crypto assets, either in the form of the underlying coins or its related derivatives such as CFDs.

The crackdown comes after Consob refined its process for identifying non-compliant companies. Recently, the regulator went after a handful of CySEC-licensed brokers and ordered them to cease operations in the country. The decisions also prevented Cypriot intermediaries from soliciting customers or continuing its current relations with Italian clients.

At the time, Consob clarified that it made its decision under the article 7-quarter, paragraph 4 of the Consolidated Law on Finance (TUF), as well as article 86 of Mifid2. This legislation allows CONSOB to order investment firms and brokers operating in the country from another EU member state, through the EU passporting regime, to cease their operations after informing the competent authority of the member state.

The Italian regulator found new tools to address illegal operators in the market when the ‘Growth Decree’ extended its powers far beyond. Thanks to the decree, CONSOB can order Italian internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites in the region. Due to technical reasons, it can take several days for the black-out to come into effect when these websites shut for a temporary period.

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