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Sun 7 Sep 2008 10:50 AM

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Forex firm staff slapped with five-year DIFC ban

GFS Investments fined $25,000, ordered to pay $500,000 compensation to customers.

Nine employees of an online forex and commodities trading firm have been banned from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) for five years and the firm fined $25,000 for mis-selling and "deliberate and dishonest conduct".

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) said on Sunday that GFS Investments (Middle East) Limited has also agreed to pay $502,000 in compensation to customers who suffered losses resulting from the misconduct.

The DFSA said an investigation into GFS Investments, incorporated in the DIFC on Jan. 31 last year, had found "repeated instances of mis-selling, including transactions that were unfair, unsuitable and not made in the best interests of customers".

The regulator said that "in some cases the mis-selling was accompanied by deliberate and dishonest conduct, and that the licenced directors of GFS Investments failed to exercise the required level of governance and supervision of their relevant executives and employees".

The DFSA said the company's licensed director and financial officer Alfred Tang has also been fined $5,000 and will never work in the DIFC again.

Four other executives have each been fined $5,000 and banned from the DIFC for five years, while a further four employees have also been banned for five years and fined between $3,000 and $4,000.

The DFSA said it started the investigation "some months ago" following customer complaints.

"We are disappointed by the unacceptable conduct of GFS Investments and our response should send a clear message that we will deal firmly with any firm that fails to maintain the standards required within this centre," DFSA CEO David Knott said in a statement.

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