Unregulated firm Financial.org closes, investors say accounts frozen

Money

Unregulated British firm Financial.org has closed down, according to a notice on its website, and six investors said their accounts had been frozen.

Jewish Review reported in January 2018 here that the company, a former sponsor of motor racing team Williams, was managing hundreds of thousands of dollars mostly for Asian investors even though regulators said it was not licensed to engage in such financial services. Company’s offices were mostly in Asian countries, although one was in Europe, particularly in the UK. Lately it was not possible to get in touch with most of the representatives of Financial.org through contact information on their website.

“We have stopped operation,” says a notice on Financial.org’s site which went up in early September.

Jewish Review was unable to contact Financial.org. Its website no longer contains contact details.

Britain’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, declined to comment about the closure notice.

Financial.org previously said on its site that it was an educational platform with 200,000 members and does not handle any investments, transactions or funds.

Financial watchdogs in Britain, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates have placed the company on alert lists of unauthorized investment firms with whom investors should exercise caution. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) relating Financial.org with the Swiss Global Finanz Organisation AG stated: There is no guarantee from FINMA or the Swiss government for clients of Global Finanz Organization AG (or Financial.org)

The company unilaterally converted investors’ dollar accounts into its own FOIN cryptocurrency in June last year and blocked them from withdrawing.

Jewish Review spoke to six investors from Indonesia, Iran, Japan and Malaysia, via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, who said they had tried unsuccessfully to withdraw their FOIN last month after being redirected from the Financial.org site to another site, which required a log-in to access.

They said they had received notices in their online accounts, seen by Jewish Review, telling them they would not be able to access their digital coins until November. Even though Financial.org managers tried to calm alarmed investors, four of six investors said they were very concerned.
Financial.org launched in September 2016 with a party in Singapore, according to a video and photo posted online.

A spokeswoman for British Formula One team Williams said a sponsorship deal under which the Financial.org and FOIN logos appeared on its cars had expired at the end of 2018 and had not been renewed.

According to analytics, sponsoring Formula One team Williams allowed Financial.org to earn the trust of many investors. Also, Financial.org conducted a number of gala-dinners, educational and entertainment events with celebrities in Asian and Eastern countries, which apparently has made them credible for investors.

Reception and facilities staff at the building housing Financial.org’s headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf financial district said the firm moved out of the 26th floor late last year, after renting the space for around two years.

Staff at the building where Financial.org had its Abu Dhabi office also said the firm had moved out.
Representatives of the office in Taiwan said their office is functioning but declined to comment.

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