I’ve never heard it mentioned in the American press (I can’t find any references to “binary option” ever in the New York Times, for instance), but the Times of Israel has been crusading in recent years against an Israeli-centric scam involving boiler rooms around the world promoting something called a binary option. When the Times of Israel talked the Knesset into outlawing binary option scams, the boiler rooms switched to pushing cybercurrency and the like. For example,
As police raid Israeli-operated boiler rooms in Asia and Eastern Europe, local law enforcement has yet to indict a single operative from an industry that has stolen billions
By SIMONA WEINGLASS
12 June 2018, 3:04 pm 14
At least eight Israelis suspected of a multimillion dollar online scam are still in custody in the Philippines, after being denied bail by the Philippine Justice Department, according to Philippine media reports.
* See update at the foot of this article.
Last week’s raid, in which almost 500 people were arrested in three adjacent offices, made headlines worldwide, including in Israel. But the call center raided by Filipino police is but one of hundreds of Israeli-run boiler rooms operating worldwide in a global plague that, to the mounting dismay and incomprehension of international law enforcement bodies, is being left unchecked by Israeli law enforcement.
The Israelis in the Philippines were arrested along with 474 of their Filipino employees in a dramatic police raid on their call center in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga last Wednesday. …
According to Philippine police, IBD Marketing operated as a call center on behalf of an online trading site called FTOCapital.com, whose call center operators tried to persuade investors to invest in bitcoin.
… Many of the suspects, as well as other employees of the Philippine call center who were not arrested in the raid, are former binary options operatives, as revealed by their LinkedIn profiles and other online postings. In particular, several employees of the Philippine company were previously employed in Israel at Delta P.D. Media Ltd. and/or Gal Media Trade Ltd., two closely linked Israeli companies that operated the binary options websites FMTrader.com and Itrader.co.il.
Delta P.D. Media Ltd. and Gal Media Trade Ltd. were two of hundreds of Israeli binary options companies that operated in Israel in recent years, before the entire binary options industry was outlawed by Israel’s Knesset in October 2017. The binary options industry, which was largely fraudulent, is estimated to have stolen billions of dollars a year from victims around the world and to have employed over 10,000 Israelis before it was banned.
As a result of loopholes in the Knesset law, many Israeli binary options operatives changed the financial product they offer to forex or cryptocurrency and continue to operate much as before. In recent years, Israel binary options operatives have opened call centers abroad — including in the Philippines, Panama, Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Cyprus and Serbia.
Police in Poland have over the last year raided several forex and binary options boiler rooms run by Israelis. In Albania, the financial supervisory authority recently requested the help of the state intelligence service, the state police and the anti-money laundering directorate to combat call centers operating investment scams against targets abroad. Albanian government official Erion Brace estimated there were 80 such call centers in the country. Albanian media reports and the Albanian corporate registry reveal that a significant number of these call centers are operated by Israelis and Israeli-Georgians.
* Update: June 14, 2018: Hebrew media reported that all eight Israeli detainees have been released from Philippine jail and are on their way back to Israel. The Times of Israel is looking into the circumstances of their release.