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International Police Focus On Boiler Room & Carbon Credit Fraud Companies

carbon credits110 individuals were arrested in the UK, Spain, Serbia and the US in relation to allegations of organised criminal activity concerning boiler room share and carbon credit companies.

The international operation involved the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), the FCA, the SFO, City of London Police, US authorities, and the Spanish Policía Nacional.

There were eighty-four arrests in Spain, twenty in the UK, two in the USA, and four in Serbia.

The 'ground-breaking' and 'unprecedented' operation led to the closure of fourteen alleged boiler room frauds in Spain, two in the UK, and one in Serbia.

This is another example of increasing international co-operation between various criminal and regulatory authorities.

The authorities within these various jurisdictions have seized various valuable assets with a view to confiscating them, and believe that hundreds of millions of pounds were defrauded.

We have successfully defended (and are defending) allegations of boiler room/carbon credit frauds, asset confiscation and have advised and acted for victims of these frauds. If you are affected by any of these issues please contact us on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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Progress on EU Regulation of Financial Markets

Comprehensive rules to govern financial markets were agreed informally by negotiators for the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers earlier this week.

The rules are designed to close the loopholes in the existing legislation, ensuring that financial markets are safer as well as more efficient, investors are better protected, speculative commodity trading is curbed and high-frequency trading is regulated.

They will apply to investment firms, market operators and services providing post-trade transparency information in the EU. They are set out in two pieces of legislation: a directly applicable Regulation dealing with transparency and access to trading venues and a Directive governing authorisation and organisation of trading venues and investor protection.

According to the European Parliament, the new rules would provide that:

  • all systems enabling market players to buy and sell financial instruments would have to operate as Regulated Markets (RMs) like stock exchanges, Multilateral Trading Facilities (MTFs) such as NYSE EURONEXT or Organised Trading Facilities (OTFs) designed to make sure that all trading venues are captured by the Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). Trading on OTFs would be restricted to non-equities, such as interests in bonds, structured finance products, emission allowances or derivatives.
  • the trading obligations would ensure that investment firms do their trades in shares on organised trading venues such as RMs or MTFs. Transactions in derivatives subject to this obligation would have to be concluded on RMs, MTFs, or OTFs.
  • firms providing investment services would have a duty to act in clients’ best interests and this would also include designing investment products for specified groups of clients according to their needs, withdrawing “toxic” products from trading and ensuring that any marketing information is clearly identifiable as such and not misleading.

For the first time it would be provided that the competent authorities would be empowered to limit the size of a net position that a person may hold in commodity derivatives, given their potential impact on food and energy prices. Under the new rules, positions in commodity derivatives (traded on trading venues and over the counter), would be limited, to support orderly pricing and prevent market distorting positions and market abuse.

The proposals also include, for the first time at EU level, rules on algorithmic trading in financial instruments. 

The details of the deal will be now fine-tuned in technical meetings.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you, or your organisation, would be affected by these new rules and you require specialist legal advice, please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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Spam Text Fine for Pay Day Loans Company

In an interesting regulatory action by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) at the end of last year, pay day loans company First Financial was fined £175,000 for sending millions of unlawful spam texts.

This breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which govern electronic marketing, and require organisations  to obtain an individual’s consent before sending marketing messages by text. In this case, says the ICO, 4,031 complaints were made against messages sent from numbers which the ICO found to belong to First Financial.

The spam texts were sent using un-registered SIM cards, which, according to the ICO, is a common method used to avoid detection. However the content of the message was similar on each occasion and referred recipients to a website belonging to, which is a trading name used by First Financial.

The imposition of the fine follows the prosecution of the company’s former sole director, Hamed Shabani, in October 2013. Mr Shabani was found to have breached the requirements of the Data Protection Act in failing to notify the ICO that First Financial was processing personal information. He was fined £1,180.66.

The most recent fine also comes on top of separate regulatory action by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ICO has helpfully published detailed guidance for direct marketers explaining their legal requirements under the Data Protection Act and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The guidance covers the circumstances in which organisations are able to carry out marketing over the phone, by text, by email, by post or by fax.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you or your organisation are being investigated by the ICO and you require specialist legal advice, please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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EU to Extend Market Abuse Regulations

The EU Council of Ministers announced last month that it had reached a compromise with the European Parliament on a draft Regulation aimed at extending the existing EU market abuse legislation.

Included in the package are proposals for a draft Directive on criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulation.

Why the change?

The changes come in the wake of the economic and financial crisis of 2008-09, and concerns about the manipulation of benchmarks arising from the more recent LIBOR scandal. Both of these highlighted the need to strengthen financial supervision and regulation, and to build a framework of internationally agreed high standards.

Developments in the market have also had an impact.

For example, while the existing Directive on Market Abuse prohibits insider dealing and the manipulation of financial instruments that are admitted to trading on regulated markets, new trading venues and over-the-counter (OTC) trading have recently emerged. Although they have brought more competition into the market, the developments have also made it more difficult to monitor for possible market abuse, such as insider dealing and market manipulation.

The proposed changes

The draft Regulation on market abuse has been in the pipeline since 2011, when the Commission announced that it was looking to update and strengthen the existing framework provided by the Market Abuse Directive.

The new framework, according to the Commission, will ensure regulation keeps pace with market developments, will strengthen the fight against market abuse across commodity and related derivative markets, reinforce the investigative and sanctioning powers of regulators and reduce administrative burdens on small and medium-sized issuers.

In particular, it will extend the scope of the regulatory framework to financial instruments traded on more recently-created venues such as multilateral trading facilities and organised trading facilities - as well as to OTC-traded financial instruments.

Where are we now?

The proposals look set to go ahead, following last month’s political agreement on the text of the Regulation. According to Michael Barnier, the EU Commissioner for Internal Markets:

“While key elements of the scope of the Market Abuse Regulation will need to be aligned with the political agreement on our related MIFID 2 [Markets in Financial Instruments Directive] proposals, it's my belief that we now have all the elements for a final agreement on this text which is essential for market integrity in Europe.”

Proposed Directive

The agreement opens the way for negotiations between the Council and Parliament to begin on the second part of the package – a proposed Directive to ensure minimum criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulation.

At the moment, investors found guilty of market abuse can avoid sanctions by taking advantage of differences in law between the 27 EU Member States. Some countries’ authorities lack effective sanctioning powers, while in others criminal sanctions are not available for certain insider dealing and market manipulation offences.

The Commission hopes to tackle this by toughening up the sanctions available, and harmonising them across the EU.

The draft Directive is due to have its first reading on 13 September 2013.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you require any advice in relation to regulatory and criminal proceedings brought by the FCA please contact us on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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Yet another Success for Keith Wood and LNL!

Keith represented a company director facing regulatory prosecutions for issues concerning VAT fraud and company record keeping. The tax issues concerned whether or not VAT was liable on the company's recorded turnover.

Leading UK experts were instructed who concluded that the ‘agent and principle’ rule had been misunderstood by HMRC, and we were able to show that the company turnover was below the requisite threshold.

As far as the company record keeping offence was concerned, Keith advised our client made various undertakings which meant that he avoided prosecution.

It is our multi-disciplinary approach and our detailed knowledge of fraud and regulatory matters which sets this firm apart.




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and Awards

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