• The accused ‘finfluencers’ could face up to two years in prison if convicted


Reality TV stars including TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger and Biggs Chris from Island will appear in court after being accused of being paid to promote risk investments to their millions of Instagram followers.

The social media influencers – dubbed ‘finfluencers’ – have been charged by the Financial Conduct Authority and could face up to two years behind bars if convicted.

Those under scrutiny also include Love Island’s Jamie Clayton, Rebecca Gormley and Eva Zapico, TOWIE’s Yazmin Oukhellou, and Geordie Shore’s Scott Timlin.

The FCA claims that account was used by Nwanze and Holly Thompson – another Instagram personality also known as Holly Zucchero – to provide advice on buying and selling so-called ‘contracts for difference’ (CFDs), between May 2018 and April 2021.

CFDs are described by the FCA as a ‘high-risk investment product used to bet on the price of an asset’. In this case it was a bet on foreign currencies.

Lauren Goodger, seen here in The Only Way is Essex, is among those charged by the FCA

Lauren Goodger, seen here in The Only Way is Essex, is among those charged by the FCA

The FCA said the combined Instagram followings of the individuals involved was 4.5million.

Nwanze, 30, has been charged with running an unauthorised investment scheme and issuing unlawful financial promotions.

Thompson, aged 33, Chris, 32, Clayton, 32, Goodger, 37, Gormley, 26, Oukhellou, 30, Timlin, 36, and Zapico, 25, each face one count of issuing unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

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The accused are all due to appear before Westminster magistrates on 13 June.

The FCA said the charges are each punishable by a fine and up to two years’ imprisonment.

CFDs are described by the watchdog as ‘high-risk derivatives’.

It has previously said that 80 per cent of customers lose money when investing in CFDs.

They are often ‘highly leveraged’ which means they use debt to try and boost returns, the FCA said. But that can result in investors losing more money than they invested.

In the UK, the regulator has imposed restrictions on how CFDs and similar products can be sold and marketed to retail customers.

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