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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced that it has charged a Cyprus-based company with selling binary options illegally in the United States—and warned U.S. investors against buying them. A binary option is a type of option that either pays a fixed amount of cash at the end of the term, or else pays nothing at all.

According to the SEC, Banc de Binary Ltd. has been selling binary options to U.S. investors without registering the securities as required by U.S. law. “Just because foreign companies can more easily communicate with American investors doesn’t mean they should skirt our longstanding laws that protect investors by requiring registration of securities,” says Andrew J. Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s division of enforcement. “Banc de Binary contacted U.S. investors through the Internet and YouTube but completely disregarded the U.S. securities laws’ registration requirements. We will aggressively combat such combat no matter where it originates.”

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