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Influencers charged over promoting financial investments to followers

Social media influencers, including former Love Island and The Only Way is Essex (Towie) stars, have been charged over plugging unauthorised investments.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has charged nine influencers in relation to an unauthorised foreign exchange trading scheme promoted on social media.

The FCA has alleged that Emmanuel Nwanze and Holly Thompson used an Instagram account, @holly_fx trends, to provide advice on buying and selling contracts for difference (CFDs) when they were not authorised to do so.

It said CFDs were high-risk investments, with 80% of customers who invest in them losing money.

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The watchdog also alleges that Nwanze paid Towie’s Lauren Goodger and Yazmin Oukhellou, Love Island’s Biggs Chris, Jamie Clayton, Rebecca Gormley, and Eva Zapico and Geordie Shore’s Scott Timlin to promote the account to their 4.5 million Instagram followers.

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

Nwanze also faces one count of breaching a general prohibition under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, which prohibits people from carrying out regulated activities in the UK unless they are authorised to do so.

The influencers face up to two years in prison if convicted.

They will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on June 13.