UK FCA sues scammers from binary options firm Bespoke Markets Group for £1.2m fraud

Rick Steves

The UK FCA has filed a complaint against a group of individuals for an alleged investment fraud with binary options that took place between June 2016 and January 2020. 

The UK’s financial watchdog is prosecuting Cameron Vickers, Raheel Mirza and Opeyemi Solaja (aka Opeyemi Olaja), who allegedly ran a London based company called Bespoke Markets Group which defrauded £1.2 million from UK investors.

The FCA also charged Reuben Akpojaro, who also worked at Bespoke Markets Group, was charged with the same offences relating to the scheme.

Raheel Mirza and a fifth individual, Taheer Sardar, were also charged for perverting the course of justice relating to the FCA’s investigation: between 31 July 2022 and the 1 October 2022, the two men allegedly created a false document to influence the case.

Unlicensed operation, money laundering, and fraud

The money was used to fund their lifestyles, rather than the binary options investments that were advertised, according to the regulator, which charged each of them with offences under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and an offence of conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law.

Under Section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), a person cannot carry on a regulated activity in the UK unless they are FCA authorised or exempt. Any person who breaches Section 19 of FSMA is committing a criminal offence for which the maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment.

Money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is a criminal offence punishable on conviction by a fine and / or up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

Conspiracy to defraud is an offence under common law with a maximum sentence on conviction of 10 years’ imprisonment.

Binary Options is banned for retail use since 2019

Binary options – a high-risk ‘all-or-nothing’ type of investment, where investors attempt to predict whether an event will happen or not. If they win, they’ll see a return, but if they’re wrong, they’ll lose all their investment – were banned in the United Kingdom in 2019 after overwhelming evidence that the product was offered as a form of gambling and retail consumers consistently lost money.

The FCA is executing a 3-year strategy to reduce and prevent conduct that can cause serious harm. The FCA recently announced that it had placed restrictions on twice as many firms in the investment market compared to last year.

Read this next

Digital Assets

As SPAC bubble bursts, Circle terminates its $9 billion merger with Concord

USDC stablecoin issuer, Circle has terminated its planned $9 billion SPAC merger with publicly traded blank-check company Concord Acquisition Corp.

Institutional FX

Integral reports lowest FX volume in two years

Foreign exchange trading volumes dropped in November across Integral’s trading platforms as currency markets saw a relatively quiet period after consecutive months of strong trading activity.


CDEX: Avelacom announces connectivity to Cboe Europe Derivatives

“We anticipate that many of our customers from Asia will be particularly interested in getting exposure to pan-European products via just one venue, which CEDX offers.”

Retail FX

BUX acquires Spanish Ninety Nine’s retail brokerage unit

“Thanks to this acquisition, Ninety Nine users will have access to a wide range of services provided by BUX, such as investing in Spanish, European and US stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, fractional investing and the BUX Savings Plan.”

Digital Assets

SEBA and HashKey partner to expand crypto in Hong Kong and Switzerland

SEBA Bank AG has announced a new strategic partnership with HashKey Digital Asset Group as part of both firm’s expansion efforts in Hong Kong SAR. 

Executive Moves

Broadridge appoints Martin Koopman as Chief Product Officer

“Martin has a proven record of driving product innovation both at Broadridge and at previous companies. His vision and proven ability to execute will be invaluable as we become the foremost SaaS provider to the financial services industry.”

Digital Assets

DAM rolls out Moonwalkers v1 testnet ahead of support for yield-generating collateral

“We want to champion innovation by making it easier to securely direct stablecoin liquidity away from Ethereum towards newer networks without the constant vulnerabilities posed by bridges. d20 will help accelerate the adoption flywheel of emerging networks, and this is our first step towards making our omnichain promise a reality.”

Institutional FX

FIA EXPO: ICE’s Brian Norris talks ESG investment, carbon credits and market data

The FIA Futures & Options Expo, now in its 38th year, convened the listed derivatives dealers, thought industry leaders and other stakeholders for two days of networking.

Retail FX

Malaysia regulator exposes OctaFX clone, shady FB profiles

Malaysia’s financial regulator today warned online investors about the risks of following investment tips made on social-media platforms.