Following an application at Southwark Crown Court on 31 October 2022, two prosecutions for alleged investment fraud will be heard as a single trial of four defendants. This is listed to start on 6 February 2023 with a 6-8 week time estimate.
It is alleged that between June 2016 and January 2020 Cameron Vickers, Raheel Mirza and Opeyemi Solaja (aka Opeyemi Olaja) ran a London based company called Bespoke Markets Group which defrauded £1.2 million from UK investors. It is alleged that that money was used to fund their lifestyles, rather than the binary options investments that were advertised. They were each charged with offences under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and an offence of conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law.
In May 2022, Reuben Akpojaro, who also worked at Bespoke Markets Group, was charged with the same offences relating to the scheme.
Last month, a further charge was brought against Raheel Mirza and a fifth individual, Taheer Sardar, for perverting the course of justice relating to the FCA’s investigation. The FCA alleges that between 31 July 2022 and the 1 October 2022, the two men created a false document to influence the case. This was adjourned until 16 November 2022 for a Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing.
Binary options are a high-risk ‘all-or-nothing' type of investment, which have been banned for retail use since 2019. The investor will attempt to predict whether an event will happen or not. If they win, they’ll see a return, but if they’re wrong, they’ll lose all their investment.
As part of the FCA’s 3-year strategy, the regulator is committed to reducing and preventing conduct that can cause serious harm. The FCA recently announced that it had placed restrictions on twice as many firms in the investment market compared to last year.
Notes to editors
- Binary options are a form of fixed odds betting which is now banned in the UK. Find out more about this form of trading at the FCA’s website here.
- Under Section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), a person cannot carry on a regulated activity in the UK unless they are FCA authorised or exempt. Any person who breaches Section 19 of FSMA is committing a criminal offence for which the maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment.
- Money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is a criminal offence punishable on conviction by a fine and / or up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
- Conspiracy to defraud is an offence under common law with a maximum sentence on conviction of 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Find out more information about the FCA.