The financial regulator has identified three illegal investment platform operators (IPOs). This is the first case of detection of such fraud in the market. However, there may be more such illegals on the crowdlending market: it is difficult to identify them, and it is almost impossible to compensate for the losses of investors.
The Bank of Russia has for the first time identified illegal operators of investment platforms. Fan.Money, the financial group “Expert”, which unites nine services, and the investment platform “1STARTER” were blacklisted by the regulator. All of them were not included in the register maintained by the Central Bank.
In total, from the beginning of 2021 to December 2 of the current year, the Bank of Russia identified more than 7.6 thousand illegal financial institutions. Mostly these are financial pyramids, illegal creditors and illegal participants in the securities market.
The Bank of Russia believes that in the case of illegal operators of investment platforms, it is important to warn not only citizens – potential investors, but also companies that are interested in in raising funds through crowdfunding platforms. At the same time, illegal companies undermine competition and trust in the financial market. The information provided by such companies cannot be verified, and there is a risk of investing in non-existent assets, the Central Bank notes. offers you can’t refuse”, twin sites, etc.” “Platforms that are not included in the register are advertised as they wish, they undergo any moderation of search engines, while legal financial intermediaries do not even have any opportunity to advertise the real sector projects being placed – you can only advertise your brand,” Kirill Kosminsky, Executive Director of the Association of Investment Platform Operators, describes the situation. .
At the same time, if the operator has not legalized its activities in Russia properly, this means that the law does not provide for any payments to those affected by its activities, as well as the intervention of the Central Bank in the contractual relationship between the investor and the operator, Pavel Ikkert, managing partner of the law firm Ickert and Partners, says.
Information about the activities of three companies without registration in the register, which was revealed by the Central Bank, the regulator has already transferred to law enforcement agencies, as announced on December 2. In principle, two scenarios are possible, says Yury Kolesnikov, managing partner of the MoneyFriends investment platform. It may turn out that the platforms provide real services, no one was harmed by their activities, there are no victims, but the platforms are not included in the register of the Bank of Russia, are not supervised by it, which creates risks of violating the rights of consumers of financial services. Such actions can be qualified as illegal entrepreneurial activity. The second option is that there are already deceived investors who will write relevant statements to law enforcement agencies. In this case, the actions of the platform organizers can be qualified as fraud. However, the problem is also that it is simply not possible to establish the ultimate beneficiaries of such “services”, Mr. Ickert points out.