Number of illegal online trading websites blocked in Italy surpasses 100

Maria Nikolova

The Italian regulator has once again made use of its powers under the “Growth Decree”, taking the number of blocked websites of unauthorized investment firms to 101.

Italy’s Companies and Exchange Commission (CONSOB) has earlier today ordered the blocking of three websites of entities that are not authorized to offer investment services in Italy but nevertheless continue to do so. To do so, the regulator made use of ithe powers resulting from the ‘Decreto Crescita’ (‘Growth Decree’, Law no. 58 of June 28, 2019, article 36, paragraph 2-terdecies), on the basis of which Consob can order Internet service providers to block access from Italy to websites offering financial services without the proper authorization.

The three websites are:

  • Priminvestfx Ltd (priminvestfx.com);
  • Goldtech Media Services Oü (fin-fnr.com);
  • Globalix Ltd (global-x.io).

Thus, the number of websites which have been blocked by Consob since July 2019 has so risen to 101.

The activities for the blocking of the websites by the ISPs, operating in the Italian market, are underway. For technical reasons it can take several days for the black-out to come into effect.

Speaking of investor protection, let’s note that earlier this week Consob implemented a precautionary measure against the Cypriot company Hoch Capital Ltd prohibiting the firm from carrying out business in Italy.

This is the first time in which Consob exercises this power, provided for by Article 7 of the Consolidated Law on Finance (TUF), in implementation of Article 86 of Mifid2.

The measure was necessary after the recurrent violations of Hoch Capital Ltd of the regulations in force, despite the measures adopted by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), following the reports sent by Consob to CySEC itself.

The Italian regulator says there have been a number of investor complaints about serious irregularities made by the Cypriot brokerage. The complaints concern, in particular, activities like Contracts for Difference (CFD) trading. Investors reported, inter alia, situations such as the total loss of the invested capital, the classification of the investor as a professional client in the absence of prerequisites and the pressures exercised by the personnel of the company to acquire additional deposits.

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