The Saket District Court in New Delhi on Thursday has directed the publication of a notice in major daily newspapers inviting grievances from members of the public who may have invested in crypto currencies through online trading platform, IQ Option. The petition filed on behalf of several citizens, who were allegedly duped by the platform, has sought for a permanent injunction against the company’s platforms and bar them from operating in India. Bar and Bench was the first to report the development.
The suit says that the platform on its website says it has over 40 million registered accounts with the platform and promises to give returns of upto 900% on investments, even with a $1 minimum investment. Users are first asked to register an account on the website, thereafter they have to transfer money into their digital accounts which are used to crypto currency trading.
The plaintiff, represented by advocate Nipun Saxena, alleges that says that IQ Option’s platforms allowed Indian investors to trade in crypto currencies and used a complex artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to manipulate and defraud investors by charging an exorbitant amount of fees at the time of making deposits and withdrawing funds. For instance, users are charged a 25% fee when making a deposit with more than $100, the suit says.
Further, when a customer wishes to withdraw their funds, the website would prompt the user with a series of error messages. Even once the “one-time free withdrawal” was exhausted, a separate withdrawal fee of 2% is charged, the suit says, adding that customers still have not been able to withdraw their money despite paying these fees. “…[IQ Option] has resorted to cheating and duping thousands of Indian citizen who are lured to transact in crypto currencies through targeted artificial intelligence marketing and flashy webpages,” the plaintiff argued.
The suit has attached screenshots from Quora, Twitter, Google Play Store and other websites where users had raised issues with IQ Option, stating they were defrauded. The petition has sought for permanent injunction against IQ Options websites, www.iqoption.com, www.iqoption.net.in, www.iq-option.in, and its mobile applications IQ Option – Online Investing.
Inviting grievances from the public who have been duped by IQ Option, Vandana Jain, Additional District Judge, Saket Courts said that that a public notice of the suit should be published:
“..present suit is treated as a representative suit, however, in order to invite the grievances of other sufferers, public notice is being issued in the aforesaid newspapers i.e. one is in English language in Times of India, one in Hindi language in Dainik Bhaskar, one in Bangala language in Anand Bazar and one in Patrika, national daily newspaper. Plaintiff is directed to ensure that public notice should be published in all the editions of all the four newspapers as well as in the newspaper,” the order said.
According to IQ Options website, its platform is owned by IQ Option Ltd, which is registered in St. Vincent and Grenadines, and IQ Option Europe Ltd which is registered in Cyprus. It has customer service centres in 17 countries, including India Singapore, Thailand and Australia among others. A perusal of the website, shows that the website accepts payments through VISA and Mastercard debit and credit cards, as well as through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay cards.
The matter will be heard on March 30, 2021 next.
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