The Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) has shut down nine new websites in an ongoing clampdown against firms it accuses of illegally promoting investment products in the country.
The newly-blacklisted domains include two clone scams that have been falsely claiming affiliation with Admiral Markets, a multi-regulated FX and CFDs brokerage firm.
The fraudulent websites operate under the domain names AdmiralFX Cyprus Ltd (www.admiralfx.net) and AdmiralECN Cyprus Ltd (www.admiralecn.net), which prompted action from the Italian regulator. Admiral Markets has no association whatsoever with the aforementioned websites and CONSOB advised everyone to avoid them entirely.
The watchdog also added the following brands to its register of banned internet sources for illegally promoting trading products in the country.
- Vibeinv Invest Limited (www.vibeinvv.com);
- Billion Traders Services OU (https://mytradingportal.com and https://my.mytradingportal.com);
- Cam Trade Ltd (https://camtrade.io and its page https://accounts.camtrade.io);
- Donnybrook Consulting Ltd ( websites https://absystem.pro and https://onyxprofit.pro);
- “Globecfds” (website www.globalcfds.com and its page https://client.globecfds.com);
- Chambers Investment Trading Pty Ltd (website https://investchambers.com and its page https://trade.investchambers.com);
- Vigo and Co LLC (website www.onirofx.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 532.
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.