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Garda search unauthorised currency firm that boasts of 'easy money'

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Gardaí have searched two premises of an unauthorised firm they say uses social media to promote and advise people to put money into foreign exchange trading.

Mobile phones and documentation were seized during the searches in Dublin. No arrests have been made.

The firm is not authorised by the Central Bank. It is understood the firm uses Instagram and Facebook to promote foreign exchange trading.

Gardaí said the firm was "promising easy and high returns".

Detectives from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and from Tallaght garda station carried out the searches.

These were part of an ongoing investigation into breaches of regulations under the EU's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2017, which requires investment firms to be authorised.

The investigation is being conducted with the support of the Central Bank.

Gardaí said in the statement the promoters, or influencers, use social media platforms to make trading recommendations, called signals, to individuals as to when to buy or sell financial instruments such as currency using foreign exchange traders.

These influencers usually have a limited understanding of the foreign exchange trading market.

Individuals and firms that offer investment advice in certain foreign exchange trading require authorisation by the Central Bank or other regulators if based outside Ireland.

Detectives said the foreign exchange influencers do not have offices, and are not authorised by the Central Bank or other authority. The entities only existence is as a website or social media account.

The influencers promote their success in foreign exchange trading by showing images of themselves on social media living the high life, with expensive cars, high-end shopping and holidays.

Associated accounts will describe how they have made easy money on the advice of the promoters, gardaí said.

Those who sign up follow the promoters or the social media account of the enterprise on Instagram or Facebook. These accounts promote foreign exchange trading and promise high returns on small investments.

The investment is usually no less than €400.

Those who sign up are contacted and invited to link with a trader who will provide them with access to trading signals, which purport to provide a recommendation for the best time to buy or sell a currency pair in order for the client to make a profit.

Irish Independent