Tuesday May 19,2015 : ISRAELI SPREAD BETTING FIRM FREEZES PLAYER ACCOUNTS
AIM-listed Plus 500 spread betting firm carrying out a money laundering review.
The Israeli-owned but UK-based and AIM-listed spread betting firm Plus 500 suffered a severe share price hit this week as it suspended the accounts of thousands of punters due to a money laundering review.
The Independent newspaper reports that the Financial Conduct Authority regulated firm had to suspend the accounts of almost half its UK player base until they provide proof of identity and permanent address.
Plus 500 found itself in this predicament after executing a major player acquisition campaign that brought in 100,000 new players in 2014 and another 33,000 in the first few molnths of 2015…but the company was only carrying out “know your customer” checks when clients were withdrawing funds, rather than at the account opening stage.
News of the money laundering review triggered a 36 percent decline in Plus 500's share price, wiping GBP 300 million from the value of the company based on its GBP 862 million market capitalisation at the end of trading last Friday.
That will have been painful to company founders Alon Gonen and Gal Haber; GBP 52 million was cut from Gonen's 16.6 percent share holding, whilst Haber took a GBP 18 million hit on his 5.9 percent.