Reality TV stars charged over promoting unauthorised investment scheme on Instagram | Ents & Arts News

A group of social media influencers have been charged in relation to promoting an unauthorised investment scheme.

The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) original cast member Lauren Goodger, 37, former Love Island star Biggs Chris, 32, and Celebrity Big Brother winner Scott Timlin, 36, also known as Scotty T, are among seven TV personalities alleged to have been paid to promote the scheme to their combined 4.5 million Instagram followers.

The others charged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) include former Love Islanders Rebecca Gormley, 26, Jamie Clayton, 32, and Eva Zapico, 25 and TOWIE member Yazmin Oukhellou, 30.

The UK’s financial watchdog brought the charges in a crackdown on “finfluencers” who use their online platforms to offer advice and information on various financial topics.

It alleges that between 19 May 2018 and 13 April 2021 Emmanuel Nwanze, 30, and Holly Thompson, 33, used an Instagram account to provide advice on buying and selling investments known as contracts for difference (CFDs) when they were not authorised to do so.

Scotty T wins Celebrity Big Brother, at the Elstree Studios, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 5, 2016. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Scotty T won Celebrity Big Brother in 2016. Pic: PA

The watchdog said CFDs are high-risk investments used to bet on the price of an asset, in this case the price of foreign currencies.

It previously warned that 80% of customers lose money when investing in CDFs.

Mr Nwanze has been charged with running the scheme. He faces one count of breaching the general prohibition of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and one count of unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

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Ms Thompson, Mr Chris, Mr Clayton, Ms Goodger, Ms Gormley, Ms Oukhellou, Mr Timlin and Ms Zapico each face one count of unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

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All nine will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 13 June.

The FCA asked anyone who believed they had sustained a loss due to the scheme to contact its consumer contact centre.

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