Mikkel Rosenvold
3 weeks ago

Finfluencers love this Kazakh investment site, but you should keep your distance!

Youtube Finfluencers are actively promoting a Russian investment site accused of sanctions circumvention and links to the Putin regime

"Finfluencers" is a relatively new phenomenon on social media. All across Instagram, Twitter/X and Youtube, private investors are becoming increasingly popular with investment tips, how-to tutorials and lifestyle videos.

But that also provides a platform for less-than reputable companies to push their financial products. Most recently, the Kazakhstan-based trading site "Freedom 24" has begun paying Finfluencers to promote their trading platform. But that might not be such a good idea.

Among others, noted Finfluencer Marta Lis with over 14,000 subscribers, posted a tutorial on how to use the site to her viewers. The Greek Finfluencer, Greekonomics (180,000 subscribers), also posted a series of videos using Freedom 24.

Putin Links

Freedom 24 has come under scrutiny over links to Russian oligarchs and the Kazakh government. Freedom 24 is accused of circumventing sanctions against Russia and skipping on anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer rules.

According to Hindenburg Research, on August 4, 2023, Freedom 24 openly admitted it provided “brokerage services to certain individuals and entities who are subject to sanctions imposed by OFAC, The European Union or the United Kingdom,” in its latest annual report. This admission of sanctions evasion follows a long history. Four months after U.S. sanctions against Russia following its 2014 invasion of Ukrainian Crimea, Freedom Chairman & CEO Turlov established his own private entity in Belize (“FFIN Belize”), admitting in later filings that the entity helps Russians sidestep “restrictions” to access U.S. markets.

Freedom 24 is also reported to generate up to 30 % of its earnings from setting up shell corporations in Belize for rich Russians trying to evade international sanctions in the wake of the Ukraine war.

Danish Users Are Worried

After Danish Finfluencers, among other "Daniels Pengetips", started promoting Freedom 24 as a trading platform, many Danish amateur investors began to use Freedom 24.

A user on a Danish Facebook group for regular investors claimed to have used a link from a Youtube video promising a free stock, which he never received after signing up.

Many anonymous users are experiencing transparency issues and feel tricked into signing up for Freedom 24.

Translation: It's now been two days and I still haven't received the free stock they adversited, and I don't seem to have the option to pull out my money again"

Unregulated and unsafe

All in all, Freedom 24 is not regulated by any top-tier regulator and as a amateur investor, you might have limited options to get your money back if you end up in a dispute with Freedom 24. The broker monitor site "BrokerChooser" goes as far as to warn readers NOT to open an account with Freedom 24.

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