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Gardaí probe 'Wolf of Wall Street wannabes' over illegal foreign exchange business

Gardaí seized phones linked to the business last week.

Image: Shutterstock/MP_P

TWO DUBLIN MEN who have illegally been running a foreign exchange firm without permission from the Central Bank are under investigation for a number of other white-collar offences which contravene European investment regulations, TheJournal.ie has learned. 

The men, described by sources as “Wolf of Wall Street wannabes”, have been flaunting significant amounts of cash garnered from their business on their respective social media accounts.

The men, who are based in south Dublin, were contacted by the Central Bank earlier this year and informed that their business was operating illegally. 

However, many of the firm’s social media accounts remained live for a time and continued to post despite the order to cease trading. 

Gardaí attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau have long been tracking the duo, who amassed several thousands of followers on social media platforms by flaunting designer clothes and high-end cars, all seemingly purchased through the fruits of their work on foreign exchanges. 

One man has since deleted every social media platform attached to his name while his colleague has made all his accounts private ever since coming to the attention of gardaí and the Central Bank.

Earlier this month, gardaí seized electronic devices and documentation linked to these two men. A full investigation into their practices is ongoing. 

TheJournal.ie understands that the two men are now being investigated for breaches of Regulations under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2017 as well as other “white-collar offences”, according to well-placed sources.

These regulations govern how investment firms are policed in Ireland and strict directives are in place around how firms such as these conduct themselves.

The investigation is being carried out with the support of the Central Bank.

How it works

Clients are asked to sign up for a set amount of cash and are told that they will then be offered one-to-one guidance by traders who will give their own recommendations on how to invest the cash in foreign currency markets. 

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However, the Central Bank issued a warning earlier this year that the firm has been operating illegally in Ireland.

Some social media channels belonging to the firm have since been deleted. A number of Instagram accounts that include the company’s name are still live and feature pictures of what appears to be accounts belonging to their clients and the cash they have made. 

In one video, an Irish influencer with over 120,000 followers says he is “feeling grateful every single morning waking up knowing that I am financially free”. The influencer adds that “you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain”.

However, according to foreign exchange corporation OANDA: “Foreign exchange transactions carry a high degree of risk and any transaction involving currencies is exposed to, among other things, changes in a country’s political condition, economic climate, acts of nature – all of which may substantially affect the price or availability of a given currency.”

No arrests have been made by gardaí and investigations are ongoing.  

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