Your Capital at Risk Part 7: Whois Plus500? 1


Disclosure: Short PLUS. This content is not directed toward persons with residence or place of business in the United Kingdom. By accessing, transmitting, or reviewing this material, you acknowledge that the author has represented his honest opinion and made statements of fact believed to be true at the time of publication. No content herein should be construed as a recommendation to take action with respect to any security.

Part 1: Short Plus500
Part 2: Bucket Shop
Part 3: Customer Lifetime Value
Part 4: Companies House Inconsistencies
Part 5: Audit Opinions
Part 6: Unlicensed Activity
Part 7: Whois Plus500?
Part 8: Scalping
Part 9: Worldwide Web
Part 10: Competition
Part 11: Unanswered Questions
Part 12: Legal Consequences

Plus500 appears to have an undisclosed Belize subsidiary called Geostrading Ltd. Plus500 previously ran an unlicensed operation under the brand 10pips.com.

Plus500 admits to unlicensed activity in its Admission Document. It is interesting to review what that actually entailed.

Two very useful websites, the historical whois records lookup on Domaintools.com and the Wayback Machine, reveal elements of Plus500′s past that it has not chosen to share with investors. In the Admission Document, Plus500 discloses only the existence of a dormant Cyprus subsidiary called MeVideoCY, without any discussion of what this subsidiary was or what it did. Unmentioned entirely is another entity that may or may not actually exist: Geostrading Ltd, a Belize-based entity also referred to as Plus500 Ltd, Belize.

I have been unable to locate any records of this entity other than its repeated mention on Plus500 and 10pips.com marketing materials still scattered around the Internet. Google “Geostrading Ltd” and every result is related to Plus500 in some way. There is an excerpt from an old English-Malay translation request. There is a Spanish-language affiliate’s website dated 27 December 2012 that still refers to Plus500 as being operated by Geostrading Ltd. There is even an amusing discussion thread in which a Plus500 representative tries to convince skeptical moderators of a website validation service, Web of Trust, that its business is legitimate. And of course there is 10pips.com, which I will discuss in a moment.

First, consider the text on the bottom of the Plus500 About Us page over time:

  • 2 January 2009: “Plus500 is operated by: MeVideoCY Ltd, Larnaca, Cyprus.”
  • 31 October 2009: “Plus500 is operated by: Plus500 Ltd, Belize.”
  • 2 May 2010:  ”Plus500 is operated by: Geostrading Ltd.”

Beginning in July 2010, after Plus500UK received its FSA license, the phrase disappears entirely.


Whois records also reflect these changes. Note the UK (+44) country code for the phone and fax numbers for the Belize entities. There also seems to be a private joke of some sort listing the administrative contact as “Hedge” Haber, perhaps a play on Gal Haber’s name.

Domain: plus500.com
Record Date: 2009-11-26
Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Server: whois.godaddy.com
Created: 2008-05-08
Updated: 2009-03-09
Expires: 2011-05-08

Record:
Registrant:
MeVideoCY LTD
Prodromou Court, 54 Sittika Hanoum Str.
Larnaca, 6051
Cyprus

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: PLUS500.COM
Created on: 07-May-08
Expires on: 07-May-11
Last Updated on: 09-Mar-09

Administrative Contact:
Haber, Hedge hostmaster@plus500.com
MeVideoCY LTD
Prodromou Court, 54 Sittika Hanoum Str.
Larnaca, 6051
Cyprus
+44.2081444391 Fax — +44.2030027290

Technical Contact:
Haber, Hedge hostmaster@plus500.com
MeVideoCY LTD
Prodromou Court, 54 Sittika Hanoum Str.
Larnaca, 6051
Cyprus
+44.2081444391 Fax — +44.2030027290

Domain servers in listed order:
NS13.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
NS14.DOMAINCONTROL.COM

Domain: plus500.com
Record Date: 2010-03-13
Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Server: whois.godaddy.com
Created: 2008-05-08
Updated: 2009-03-09
Expires: 2011-05-08

Record:
Registrant:
Plus500 Ltd
99 Albert Street
Belize City, 8024
Belize

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: PLUS500.COM
Created on: 07-May-08
Expires on: 07-May-11
Last Updated on: 09-Mar-09

Administrative Contact:
Haber, Hedge hostmaster@plus500.com
Plus500 Ltd
99 Albert Street
Belize City, 8024
Belize
+44.2081444391 Fax — +44.2030027290

Technical Contact:
Haber, Hedge hostmaster@plus500.com
Plus500 Ltd
99 Albert Street
Belize City, 8024
Belize
+44.2081444391 Fax — +44.2030027290

Domain servers in listed order:
NS13.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
NS14.DOMAINCONTROL.COM

Domain: plus500.com
Record Date: 2011-12-16
Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Server: whois.godaddy.com
Created: 2008-05-08
Updated: 2011-02-08
Expires: 2014-05-08

Record:
Registrant:
Plus500UK Ltd.
33 Throgmorton Street
London EC2N 2BR
United Kingdom

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: PLUS500.COM
Created on: 07-May-08
Expires on: 07-May-14
Last Updated on: 08-Feb-11

Administrative Contact:
Sordo, Dror hostmaster@plus500.com
Plus500UK Ltd.
33 Throgmorton Street
London EC2N 2BR
United Kingdom
+442071565038 Fax — +442033707960

Technical Contact:
Sordo, Dror hostmaster@plus500.com
Plus500UK Ltd.
33 Throgmorton Street
London EC2N 2BR
United Kingdom
+442071565038 Fax — +442033707960

Domain servers in listed order:
NS.RACKSPACE.COM
NS2.RACKSPACE.COM


“10 pips a day – that’s all you need to become a millionaire…”

Wayback Machine archives of 10pips.com reveal a strange evolution from an online backgammon affiliate site to a fully-fledged trading platform operated by MeVideoCY very similar to Plus500.

  • 2007: 10pips.com is a placeholder.
  • 8 October 2008: 10pips.com links to Gammoned.com, an online backgammon website
  • 11 February 2009: 10pips.com is now a mock-up of a CFD provider, but has yet to describe itself
  • 15 March 2009: “10Pips platform is operated by: MeVideoCY Ltd, Larnaca, Cyprus.”
  • 12 June 2010: The last capture before 10pips.com was closed on 14 July 2010.
  • 8 August 2010: By August, 10pips.com was replaced with a redirect to Plus500.

10pips.com also includes a link to the “Costumer agreement” from March 2009 that makes explicit its operation by MeVideoCY. (They caught the typo by July). The user agreement page remained active until November 2013, although Plus500 states in the Admission Document from July 2013 that MeVideoCY was already dormant.

References to Geostrading Ltd instead of MeVideoCY as the operator of 10pips.com  appear on some affiliate websites:

10PIPS platform is operated since 2008 by: Geostrading Ltd. Albert Street Belize City, 8024. Belize. Fax Number: +44 203 002 7290, Email: support@10pips.com

Apparently, 10pips.com ran an active affiliate marketing scheme and international unlicensed CFD business right up until Plus500UK received its FSA authorization. The website was pulled without warning less than 3 weeks before the license was granted, angering some affiliates. More on affiliate marketing and 10pips.com in Part 9.


In addition to the warnings from regulators in Hong Kong, Quebec, and Brazil already cataloged by Dan McCrum, the activities of Plus500 generated additional warnings from Slovenia and Greece. Cyprus warned both Plus500 and MeVideoCY in 2009, although apparently all is forgotten now that Plus500 has received a license from Cyprus. Most recently, the Croatian regulator issued a warning to Plus500UK in 2012 before being forced to backtrack in 2013 due to the passporting mechanism of Plus500′s UK license in the rest of Europe. The Croatian regulator nevertheless stands by its warning to customers. Perhaps investors should heed it as well.

 

On to Part 8: Scalping –>


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