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28 Dec, 2018 11:24

Russia shuts down foreign forex platforms specializing in moving money offshore

Russia shuts down foreign forex platforms specializing in moving money offshore

The Bank of Russia has revoked licenses of five out on nine foreign exchange dealers operating in the country – Alpari Forex, Forex Club, Fix Trade, Trustforex, and Teletrade Group. The decision comes into force on January 27.

All the companies are subsidiaries of foreign firms that use aggressive advertising to lure Russian clients and focus on moving their money offshore, according to the regulator.

The forex platforms now have a month to cease operations in Russia’s securities market and pay off their customers, the regulator said announcing the measure on Thursday. Liabilities of the five forex platforms deprived of licenses amount to 35 million rubles ($504,000) and have some 2,000 clients, only 470 of whom are active, according to department head of the Russian Central Bank Larisa Selyutina.

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The official reasons behind the move were repeated violations of Russian law, namely on securities. The Central Bank says the five dealers failed to fulfill the regulator's requirements, had flaws in internal accounting and presented inaccurate information and false reports to the regulator among other violations.

The Central Bank also said that Alpari Forex, Forex Club, Fix Trade, Trustforex and Teletrade Group had few little clients through two years of their work as most of them were drawn not through licensed dealers.

“The clients were drawn through advertisements [of having a Russian bank license], but contracted foreign companies,” Selyutina said.

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The head of the central bank's market violations monitoring department, Valeriy Lyakh, explained that such companies enjoy offshore jurisdiction and can have no license at all. The regulator says it has repeatedly warned the forex dealers they must shift their Russian clients into Russia's legal framework, but nothing was done.

Meanwhile, Alpari Forex, Teletrade Group, and Forex Club continued operations, despite revoked licenses. Forex Club told Russian media that it has no documents from the central bank on the decision and hopes for further dialogue on the matter. Teletrade Group said that the news on revoking their license came as a “complete surprise” for the company.

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Alpari-Forex also said it has not yet received official notification from the Central Bank, but if it gets it, the platform will file an appeal. The company’s representative told Tass it has 1,000 clients in Russia and their funds are protected in accordance with Russian legislation.

Thus only four forex dealers are to remain on the Russian market – Alfa-forex, VTB-forex, PSB-forex, and Finam-forex, mostly affiliated with top Russian banks.

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