ISignthis facilitates payments and provides “know your customer” services for a range of binary options dealers that are subject to investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). ISignthis is also under investigation by ASIC.
Australia’s major banks have also facilitated payment processing for binary options schemes until recently.
In January 2018 an iSignthis announcement to the ASX reported that it was using NAB to offer payment facilitation services such as processing, clearing and funds settlement to clients like OT Markets.
Two months later ASIC attempted to wind up OT and associated companies for unconscionable conduct.
In February 2019 iSignthis announced that NAB was terminating its agreement to provide services as it had “no appetite” for dealing with CFD and binary traders.
According to iSignthis’s ASX statements, OT contributed 25 per cent of its contracted serve fee revenue for the 2018 financial year.
A NAB spokesperson said the bank can’t comment on customer relationships.
A spokesman for iSignthis said: “iSignthis has no commercial or client relationship with any of the companies in this matter and, in Australia, iSignthis only provides its services to financial services operators with an Australian Financial Services Licence.
“ISignthis relies upon ASIC’s AFSL framework in assisting it to distinguish between lawfully licensed operators and illegal operators, and does not provide services to unlicensed operators targeting Australian residents.”
The corporate watchdog launched legal action in 2016 against One Tech Media, convicted fraudster Eustace ‘Tony’ Senese and Australian-Irsaeli resident Yoav Ida and the payment platform companies they operated after thousands of customers lost money in TitanTrade. TitanTrade was a global operation with offices in Australia, the Seychelles and Gibraltar.
Justice Davies found One Tech Media, Mr Senese and Mr Ida and their companies involved in the scheme were all complicit in the unconscionable conduct of One Tech Media which operated the TitanTrade website. She found that One Tech Media had engaged in dishonest conduct rising to a criminal level as well as misleading and deceptive conduct.
The court heard during a trial last year, that the scheme used fake professors and other “con artists” to push the scheme onto unsuspecting clients who were subject to high-pressure sales tactics and were unable to withdraw their funds. About $15 million was pumped into the scheme by Australian and offshore investors.
Justice Davies lashed One Tech Media and its associates in her judgment.
“One Tech acted outside of societal norms of acceptable commercial behaviour by placing pressure on investors who were elderly, living with disability or ill health, retired and living off superannuation funds, to take funds on which they lived and use those funds in risky trades in binary options which they were bound to lose.”
“The pressure continued even in the face of resistance by the investors, or protestations that they needed their funds to meet their living expenses, repay debts, or for surgery.”
Sarah Danckert is a business reporter.
Colin Kruger is a business reporter. He joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999 as its technology editor. Other roles have included the Herald’s deputy business editor and online business editor.