UK influencers face two-year imprisonment for promoting CFDs

abdelaziz Fathi

Social media influencers with a combined following of 4.5 million people have been charged in relation to promoting unauthorized investments, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced on Wednesday.

The City watchdog has brought charges against several high-profile television personalities, Love Island stars, and Instagram influencers, alleging they were paid to promote investment schemes without the required authorization.

The FCA’s lawsuit names nine individuals, including TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger, Love Island’s Rebecca Gormley, and Geordie Shore’s Scott Timlin. They are scheduled to appear before Magistrates on June 13, 2024. If convicted, they could face up to two years imprisonment.

The regulator alleges that these individuals promoted a complex contracts for difference (CFD) product through their social media accounts without authorization. CFDs are high-risk investment products used to bet on the price movements of assets, in this case, foreign currencies. The FCA noted that 80% of customers typically lose money when investing in CFDs due to their inherent risks.

“CFDs are a high-risk investment product used to bet on the price of an asset, in this case, the price of foreign currencies,” an FCA spokesperson said in a statement. “Anyone who believes they have suffered loss in relation to this matter is encouraged to contact the FCA consumer contact center on 0800 111 6768 (freephone).”

The individuals to appear in court include Emmanuel Nwanze, Holly Thompson, Biggs Chris, Jamie Clayton, Lauren Goodger, Rebecca Gormley, Yazmin Oukhellou, Scott Timlin, and Eva Zapico.

According to the FCA, the combined Instagram following of these individuals is 4.5 million.

Between May 19, 2018, and April 13, 2021, Nwanze and Holly Thompson allegedly used an Instagram account (@holly_fxtrends) to provide advice on buying and selling CFDs without the necessary authorization. The FCA further alleges that Nwanze paid Biggs Chris, Jamie Clayton, Lauren Goodger, Rebecca Gormley, Yazmin Oukhellou, Scott Timlin, and Eva Zapico to promote the @holly_fxtrends Instagram account to their millions of followers.

The FCA has urged anyone who may have suffered financial losses related to this case to contact their consumer contact center.

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