US requests extradition of Israelis for role in binary options fraud

abdelaziz Fathi

The United States this week formally requested the arrest and extradition of the Israeli perpetrators of a $100 million binary options scam.

Israeli media outlet The Marker has identified the suspects as Uri Maimon, Nissim Alfasi, Afik Tori, Oron Montgomery, Dave Barzilai and Gilad Mazogi. After former CEO of Israel-based Yukom Communications Lee Elbaz was found guilty for her participation in the binary options scheme in 2020, her former bosses and colleagues have been hit with fraud charges in the United States.

A case was also built against Yossi Herzog, Yakov Cohen and Shalom Peretz, as well as convicted Yukom CEO Lee Elbaz, who have been sued by the US government since August 2019.

The scheme involved the binary option brands Yukom Communications Ltd., Linkopia Mauritius Ltd., Wirestech Limited (BigOption), WSB Investment Limited (BinaryBook), and Zolarex Ltd. (BinaryOnline). These companies were based in Israel, the U.K., Mauritius, the Marshall Islands and other offshore jurisdictions and targeted investors in the US and elsewhere.

The complaint against these execs parallels and rests on the same findings as the criminal charges against Lee Elbaz, who was criminally convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The CFTC says the defendants used high-pressure sales tactics, manipulated their clients’ trades to force losses and generate profits for their companies, and ultimately misappropriated their money. The CFTC also said they concealed the operation’s true nature by using foreign names to open offshore bank accounts.

CFTC served all defendants that they have been sued in the US, either through emails to the companies or a legal notice published in The Times of Israel to inform Yossi Herzog, Yakov Cohen and Shalom Peretz.

The four defendants and their associated brands were also named in other lawsuits that based on the same underlying facts as the CFTC’s allegations against Lee Elbaz, who was put behind bars for 22 years and paid $28 million in restitution.

Her former bosses, who were also owners of the binary options websites BigOption and BinaryBook, together with 13 other employees, were charged with fraud in a Maryland court.

According to the complaint, the co-conspirators also misrepresented the expected return on binaries trades, using the terms of “bonuses,” “risk free trades,” and “insured trades” to assure clients that their investments are safe. They also provided investors with false names and qualifications, and falsely claimed to be working from London.

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