According to the SEC’s complaint, Spot Option – under the control of Patarkazishvili, the company’s founder and former chief executive officer, and Amiran, the company’s former president – defrauded retail investors worldwide through a scheme involving the sale of online binary options. Binary options are securities whose payouts are contingent on the outcome of a yes/no proposition, typically whether an underlying asset will be above or below a specified price at the time the option expires.
The SEC alleges that the defendants developed nearly all of the products and services necessary to offer and sell binary options through the internet, including a proprietary trading platform, and that they licensed these products and services to entities they called “white label partners,” who directly marketed the binary options.
“Through our action against Spot Option and its executives, which follows a series of actions against others who allegedly used Spot Option’s binary options platform to victimize investors, we demonstrate our commitment to holding those at the top accountable,” said Melissa R. Hodgman, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “As these binary options cases show, investors should be on their guard whenever they see high-pressure sales tactics and too-good-to-be-true promises of returns or performance.”
“Spot Option’s trading platform allegedly supported a worldwide binary options fraud,” said Jennifer S. Leete, Associate Director in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “This action shows that the SEC will work with its foreign regulatory partners to pursue international actors who defraud U.S. investors.”
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Nevada, charges Spot Option with violating the anti-fraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws, and Malhaz Pinhas Patarkazishvili and Ran Amiran with violating the registration provisions of the federal securities laws and with controlling Spot Option in its violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, financial penalties, and permanent injunctions against all three defendants.
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