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‘Defending the Indefensible’: What Israel’s new government means for Jewish students abroad

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Defending the Indefensible’: What Israel’s New Government Means for Jewish Students Abroad

As Israel’s most right-wing and reactionary government to date begins enacting its policies, Jewish students thousands of miles away feel the burden of being identified with it (Haaretz, 10th January, 2023)

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-01-10/ty-article-magazine/.premium/defending-the-indefensible-what-israels-new-coalition-means-for-jewish-students-abroad/00000185-9705-d85f-a58d-ff9f82fc0000 )

Until the recent election, though, Israel still had the benefit of being viewed by most of the Western world as a democracy, albeit a fragile one. But that election, held just over two months ago, has brought into power the most right-wing and reactionary government in Israeli history. Headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, it is planning crackdowns on the judicial system as well as basic civil and minority rights, leaving the country’s status as a democracy in limbo.

Among those certain to be impacted by this new government are those Jewish students abroad who, for no fault of their own, may be held accountable for its actions. Some are already pushing back.

Within days of the election, the Union of Jewish Students in the United Kingdom issued a statement saying it would not be able to support a government that includes the likes of Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich – now the national security and finance ministers, respectively.

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“If we as a community call out the Far Right in Britain and elsewhere, we must not turn a blind eye to the Far Right in Israel,” the statement said. It noted that these two leaders of the Israeli far right “do not represent the Jewish values we hold dear.”

Even before the election, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, which represents students at schools throughout Australia and New Zealand, issued its own statement expressing concerns about the possible impact of events taking place thousands of miles away. “While we cannot vote in the Israeli elections, as Jewish students in the Diaspora, we are significantly invested in and affected by political developments in the Jewish State, whether we like it or not,” it said.

The student union expressed deep concerns that a party running on a platform of homophobia and racism – the Religious Zionism party led by Smotrich and Ben-Gvir – was likely to emerge as the third-largest party in the country, which it did. Referring to the two lawmakers, the statement said: “We cannot allow these men to co-opt the ideologies we hold so dear, and it is for this reason that we say Lo bishmenu – not in our name.”

In conversations with Haaretz, 15 Jewish students from the Diaspora share their thoughts about the new government in Israel, and what it will mean for them and their campus discourse.

Betsy Cohen, 21, fourth year student at Leeds University, England

Cohen, who was raised in North London in a Modern Orthodox family, had been considering aliyah. But following the November 1 election, she is having second thoughts: “I’m waiting to see how things pan out,” she says.

A member of the British Labour party, Cohen describes herself as left wing and “culturally religious,” though she isn’t especially active in Jewish life at her university.

The rise of the extreme right in Israel, she believes, has brought the cultural divide between Israeli and Diaspora Jews to the forefront. “At the end of the day, Israelis voted for a radical far-right government,” says Cohen. “I think we have to start asking ourselves uncomfortable questions about what this reveals about the country and the headspace its citizens are in.”

Cohen still identifies as a Zionist and says she can’t imagine the day when she would sever ties completely with Israel. “That said,” she adds, “it no longer feels like the country I knew and was taught to love growing up.”

The rise of the far right has made it more difficult for students like her to defend Israel, says Cohen, “because the optics are so bad.”

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“We have to be able to separate Israel’s government from Israel as a whole,” she adds. “But that’s not a super clear or strong argument for Jewish students to pedal.”

Asher Dayanim, 20, third-year student at Columbia University, United States

Dayanim, the son of Jewish immigrants who fled Iran, describes himself as a Zionist with strong cultural and emotional ties to Israel. Although his commitment to Israel has not waned because of the election results, he says, defending the country has become “trickier” – especially on a campus where students and faculty tend to be very left-wing and critical of Israel.

“It feels like the election results have confirmed all their biases,” says the Philadelphia native. “I also know some Jewish students who have been on the fence about Zionism, and this hasn’t helped.”

Dayanim takes solace, however, in the fact that Israel’s previous government, albeit short-lived, was the most diverse in the country’s history. “I think this shows that there hasn’t been a fundamental shift in the political outlook among Israelis, but rather that Israeli politics are an absolute mess,” he says. “There’s still a sense that we can all ride this out.”

Brad Gottschalk, 21, third-year student at Cape Town University, South Africa

Gottschalk grew up in Johannesburg, where he was active in Habonim Dror, the left-wing Zionist youth movement. He is now a member of the South African Union of Jewish Students.

Because the Jewish community of South Africa tends to be quite conservative with regards to Israel, he says most of his peers are unfazed by the recent election results. “In fact, Bibi is a popular figure here,” he says, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In South Africa, he explains, it’s hard to find Jews with a nuanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “You are either pro-Israel or pro-Palestine,” says Gottschalk.

That makes life particularly challenging these days for an outlier like him. “Being a left-wing Zionist involves a lot of mental gymnastics,” he says. “I feel like I’m having a particularly rigorous workout.”

As someone who follows Israeli politics closely, Gottschalk says, he wasn’t particularly shocked by the election results. “That said, I think for a lot of my contemporaries, it came as a

“It no longer feels like the country I knew and was taught to love growing up”

huge and unwelcome surprise,” he adds. “Many students in South Africa are what I term ‘blind Zionists,’ and fascism in Israel doesn’t fit the narrative of the Herzl spiel we all grew up on.”

Jaron Rykiss, 21, third-year student at the University of Manitoba, Canada

Rykiss, who describes himself as a “Zionist with caveats,” is president of the student union at his university.

Disappointed with the new political situation in Israel, he says: “I’m trying to be calm and take a wait-and-see approach, but Israel needs to be a country that provides a safe space to all its citizens – at least that’s the ideal we should all be striving for.”

“Fascism in Israel doesn’t fit the narrative of the Herzl spiel we all grew up on”

He says he wouldn’t blame young Jews for turning their backs on Israel, given the composition of the new government, and notes that the process has already begun.

“I think part of the issue is that Diaspora Jews are taught that Israel is a magical land, and they’re not give a counter-narrative,” says Rykiss. “Once they get to campus and meet pro-Palestinians for the first time, it makes for a jarring experience.”

Leonardo Shaw, 20, third year student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Shaw, who defines himself as “culturally and ethnically Jewish,” is not aware of his Jewish friends pulling away from Israel because of the new government. and assumes this is because they are able to distinguish between the state and the government.

“Britain also has a very right-wing government in power, so it could be that it’s easier for us to make this distinction,” he posits.

While the political situation in Israel is “upsetting,” he says, his feelings toward the country haven’t changed.

“I was hoping to visit this summer, and funds permitting, I will,” says Shaw. “Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but politics are temporary, and things can always change for the better.”

“As Jews, we end up spending most of our time defending the idea that the Jewish people have a right to a national homeland”

He doesn’t expect it to become more difficult to defend Israel on campus for the simple reason, he says, that most students tend to be pretty ignorant about the situation in the country. Indeed, Shaw says he would be shocked if students on his campus knew anything about Itamar Ben-Gvir, widely considered to be the most controversial member of Israel’s new government.

“Most non-Jews I meet on campus don’t even know that Israel’s a democracy, let alone keep up with the country’s politics,” he says. “The type of debates we have on campus are way more basic. In fact, as Jews, we end up spending most of our time defending the idea that the Jewish people have a right to a national homeland.”

Josh Cohen, 21, third year student at Nottingham Trent University, England

Cohen, president of the JSoc (the Jewish students society) on his campus, identifies as Modern Orthodox religiously and center-left politically. Describing himself as an “unapologetic Zionist,” he believes it is important for students to continue engaging with Israel, but at the same time, to be “vocal in our opposition to the new government.”

Cohen does not anticipate tough times ahead for Jewish students on campus: “The vast majority of students, Jews and non-Jews alike, aren’t interested in Israel’s internal affairs.”

Gabriel Gluskin-Braun, 23, graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, United States

Gluskin-Braun, the son of a Reconstructionist rabbi, was active in the Habonim Dror Zionist youth movement but now identifies as anti-Zionist. The rise of the far right in Israel, he predicts, will push growing numbers of young American Jews into his camp.

“The idea that Israel represents the interests of global Jewry has, I think, been largely disproven,” says the Philadelphia native, who is studying Eastern languages and culture, with a specialization in Arabic.

“In the past, Diaspora Jews were hesitant to criticize Israel in public for fear of being labeled ‘self-hating’ or even ‘antisemitic.’ Now, a lot of young Jews have reached the end of their tether and are questioning how much longer they can defend the indefensible and engage with a country whose values don’t align with theirs.”

He describes the predominance of extremists in Israel’s new government as “another straw on the camel’s back.”

George Aminoff, 23, fourth-year student at Aston University, England

Aminoff, a member of the Birmingham JSoc, was raised in London and comes from a traditional Jewish background. Although he remains a Zionist, he says he will find it much harder now to continue defending Israel. “I don’t want to excuse the country’s swing to the hard right,” he says.

At the same time, he doesn’t expect the rise of the far right in Israel to radically change the views of his Jewish

“People think Israel is a dictatorship, comparable to a theocratic regime like Iran”

friends. “On campus, a lot of young Jews are increasingly critical of Israel, but I don’t think the election results alone are going to turn people into anti-Zionists,” he says.

Paris Enten, 20, second-year student at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia

Enten, who serves as advocacy and communications coordinator for the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, says that this is the first time she can remember so many young Jews fundamentally opposed to the Israeli government.

She describes the situation as “challenging,” but does not think the election results will cause young Jewish Australians to distance themselves from Israel. “Our relationship with Israel isn’t based on the government of the day but on the idea of supporting a Jewish homeland,” she says.

Growing up at a time when Israel is under constant international criticism – often unfairly so in Enten’s view – has strengthened the resolve of her and her peers to stand up for the Jewish state. “It has hardened our Zionist beliefs,” she says.

Enten takes consolation in the fact that most of Israel’s major critics on Australia are relatively clueless about domestic politics in the country.

“Debates are not happening on our campuses at a such a sophisticated level,” she says. “People think Israel is a dictatorship, comparable to a theocratic regime like Iran. So, we don’t spend our time discussing nuances, but rather, dispelling basic lies.”

Kayla Lior Vardi, 22, third-year student at University of Cape Town, South Africa

Vardi, who was born in London and grew up in Johannesburg, identifies as a secular Zionist, but is active in Chabad, the Orthodox outreach movement.

As someone who has long advocated for Israel on her campus, she anticipates greater difficulties ahead. “In South Africa, the antisemitism I’ve experienced has always stemmed from anti-Zionism, and the composition of the new government is bound to provide more fodder.”

With Israel moving away from democracy, says Vardi, it will become harder for students like her to advocate for it. “I’ll be having to defend a government I disagree with on just about everything,” she says.

Having said that, Vardi does not think many young South African Jews will disengage from Israel because of the new government.

“Even the most liberal Jewish schools in South Africa are staunchly Zionist, and so, I don’t think the trend we see worldwide is relevant for young Jews in my country,” she says. “One election – albeit unprecedented in terms of the extremist results – is unlikely to make us turn our backs on

“I would delete my social media and [move to Israel] very quietly, because I’m worried about being canceled”

Israel.”

Vardi has considered immigrating to Israel, but says she was always hesitant “for fear of a backlash from my non-Jewish friends.”

If she were to move now, she says, “I would delete my social media and do it very quietly, because I’m worried about being canceled.”

Josh Feldman, 22, fourth-year student at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia

Feldman, who describes himself as a centrist Zionist, runs the blog for the Jewish Student Society at his university and follows events in Israel closely.

He thinks it would be “short-sighted and wrong” for young Jews to abandon Israel, and believes most of his peers in Australia share his view. “Young Australian Jews are very Zionist – even more than our parents and grandparents were, and I highly doubt this election will change people’s feelings toward Israel,” he says.

“Rather than distancing themselves, I think a lot of Jewish students are interested in learning why a person like Ben-Gvir has managed to become so popular,” he adds. “In this regard, there’s a perverse sense of renewed interest in the country.”

Rose Zelezniak, 21, third-year student at University of Cape Town, South Africa

Zelezniak, who identifies as a left-wing Zionist, says she is feeling “pretty hopeless” about Israel these days.

“But I’ve accepted the fact that as a Diaspora Jew, there’s very little I can do,” she says.

Rather than feed into the anti-Israel atmosphere on her campus, Zelezniak says, she has resolved to keep her thoughts to herself. “On campus, I still advocate just as fervently for Israel as I did before the election,” she says.

Zelezniak expects life to become even more challenging for Jewish students like herself because of the Israeli government’s orientation.

“Now we have to contend with the idea that a fascist party will be part of the new government, and that is the last thing we need on our plate,” she says. “If I were to sum up, I’d say that the Israeli election has made an already desperate situation even more toxic.”

Sheli Cohen, 22, recent graduate of University of Kansas, United States

Cohen, who grew up fairly observant, describes herself as a “cultural Jew” with left-of-center political views.

After graduating this summer, she moved to Tel Aviv, where she is working in the film industry. Despite the temptation to pick up and leave in despair over the new government, she says, she felt “the brave thing to do was to stay and fight.”

Cohen finds it disheartening that most of the American Jews she has recently encountered who moved to Israel tend to see eye-to-eye with the new government. “They’re changing the demographics of the country, and it is hard for me to engage with them,” she says.

The situation in Israel today reminds Cohen of how things felt in the United States right after Donald Trump was elected president. “It enabled the extremists to become more extreme, and led to super-polarization,” she says.

Adam Levy, 23, fourth-year student at University of Sydney, Australia

Levy, who describes himself as left-wing, is concerned that if the new Israeli government begins to act on some of its declarations, life could become far more challenging for Jewish students on campus.

“This is bound to further enrage the anti-Israeli activists on campus and make the environment even more hostile to us”

“All these horrendous laws will end up creating more violence against the Palestinians, and this is bound to further enrage the anti-Israeli activists on campus and make the environment even more hostile to us,” he says.

Levy, who plans to immigrate to Israel within the next few years, believes it is easier for him, as a Diaspora Jew, to distinguish between his feelings toward the state and his feeling toward the government. “I understand that’s a privilege not afforded to Israelis,” he says.

Beitha Milner, 20, second-year student at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Milner, the national chairperson of the South African Union of Jewish Students, is not particularly disturbed by recent political developments in Israel. “Israeli politics are not super relevant to me, because my ties to the land are historical, cultural and religious,” she explains.

Neither does she anticipate that life will become more difficult for Jewish students on South African campuses. “The pro-BDS students in South Africa have never cared about who’s in power in Israel,” she explains. “The election for them is irrelevant, and I doubt they even knew one had taken place.”

Although she cares deeply for Israel, Milner says she would never speak out publicly against the new government. “Who the Israelis choose to elect isn’t really my business,” she says. “I’m not a citizen of the country, and I don’t pay taxes there.”

Article link: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-01-10/ty-article-magazine/.premium/defending-the-indefensible-what-israels-new-coalition-means-for-jewish-students-abroad/00000185-9705-d85f-a58d-ff9f82fc0000
Article source: Haaretz, 10th January, 2023

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000
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Customers claim they were lured into foreign exchange trading and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars

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Customers claim they were lured into foreign exchange trading and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars

7.30

/ By Michael Atkin (Australian ABC, 9/1/2023)

Posted Mon 9 Jan 2023 at 11:03amMonday 9 Jan 2023 at 11:03am, updated Mon 9 Jan 2023 at 5:12pmMonday 9 Jan 2023 at 5:12pm

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-09/customers-claim-lured-into-foreign-exchange-trading-tradefred/101755610 )

Former customers of an Australian company claim they were lured into the high-risk world of foreign exchange trading under false pretences and subjected to high-pressure sales tactics which contributed to them losing huge sums.

Two men have spoken exclusively to ABC’s 7.30 about the alleged conduct of TradeFred, which operated a foreign exchange trading platform.

Sales representatives allegedly told the men, who don’t know each other, to download remote access software so they could control their computers and direct the trades they made.

7.30 has obtained recordings of phone calls between TradeFred sales representatives and the men, which they say expose unacceptable conduct.

At the time they had no idea the Australian operation had outsourced its sales and marketing to sales reps working for a company based in Israel and which had other business conducted from Cyprus.

The men believe Australia’s corporate regulator ASIC was too slow to intervene to stop TradeFred, and fear they’re unlikely to get their money back after the Australian operations went bust.

Do you know more about this story?

Email michaelatkin@protonmail.com or contact him via the Signal secure messaging app +61 447 279 901.

ASIC is suing TradeFred in the Federal Court, alleging the company engaged in unconscionable conduct towards its clients, with the case listed for trial this year.

As part of the proceedings, it is attempting to have the net deposits of clients refunded.

‘A devastating effect’

The regulator alleges TradeFred was taking the opposite position on trades to more than 95 per cent of its customers, so the company was making money when its customers were losing and was therefore incentivised to have them keep losing.

Former TradeFred customer Geoff Moodie was very concerned to find out the company could have been betting against him.

“I’m losing all my money and someone is winning on my loss? That, to me, hurts,” he said.

Mr Moodie is a retired grandfather who lives in Ipswich, Queensland.

He says had he known TradeFred could have been making money when he was losing, he never would have signed up.

Mr Moodie’s retirement plans have changed forever.

He’s lodged a claim for losses he estimates are over $140,000.

“It’s had a huge impact. I think losing that sort of money in anybody’s life would impact them,” he said.

“I’m not a millionaire, I’m just the average Joe on the street, and that sort of money has had a devastating effect on the family both emotionally [and] physically.”

The liquidator for TradeFred has told 7.30 there are over $10.5 million in claims for losses.

However, the Australian operation had over 2,000 customers and so far only a small number have submitted claims.

From Bitcoin to foreign exchange

In early 2019, Adrian Goddard was scrolling through social media and saw an advertisement for trading the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The ad, which was endorsed by a celebrity, said you could start trading with just $US250, and Mr Goddard decided to try it out.

The recordings reveal that on the first call with TradeFred the sales consultant said to Mr Goddard, “I understand you’re looking to extend your income, maybe thinking about the future, retirement, stuff like that?”

“I can tell you you’ve definitely come to the right place.”

The consultant began discussing automatic trading software for Bitcoin, which would be supported by a TradeFred senior account manager, and then a trading account for Mr Goddard was established.

ASIC alleges that TradeFred was mischaracterising the nature of its services by claiming to customers it had an automatic trading platform for Bitcoin, when it was not a service it offered.

During the phone call, the consultant then quickly shifted the conversation away from Bitcoin to making money trading foreign currencies.

TradeFred offered its customers access to the high-risk world of margin foreign exchange.

Mr Goddard said he made it clear to TradeFred that he didn’t understand currency trading and they directed him on exactly how to trade.

“They would basically tell me what to do, tell me what to trade on, and I kept saying to them, ‘Look, I’ve got no idea what I’m doing here, I don’t understand the markets,'” Mr Goddard said.

“They had promised to teach me … but that never really came about.”

‘I was very naive’

Geoff Moodie also signed up after seeing what he believes could be the same social media ad Mr Goddard saw.

On his first call with TradeFred, Mr Moodie made it clear he had no understanding of financial markets and was a complete novice who needed education.

The consultant responded, “Wonderful, most of the clients, and I tell you honest [sic], 90 per cent of them, don’t have any previous experience at all. This is the reason I still have a job.”

He also promised they offer far more than Bitcoin trading.

“We are not just the cryptocurrency software … we are many other things,” the consultant said.

The consultant then talked about how it’s possible to make 10 to 20 per cent on a monthly basis with a “low-risk market”, by trading in the foreign exchange, also known as the forex market.

Mr Moodie said in hindsight the sales pitch was very slick and he believes he was misled.

“They were able to change my thought pattern from Bitcoin to forex, as they call it, without me realising it, or questioning. I thought maybe the Bitcoin would come at a later date, so, you know, I was very naive at that stage,” he said.

Both Mr Goddard and Mr Moodie said TradeFred instructed them to install remote access software on their computers so the sales reps could monitor what was happening on their screens and direct their trades.

This type of software is usually used to fix tech issues from an external site, but is open to abuse.

ASIC alleges TradeFred account managers were using the software to find out how much money customers had available for transferring to trading accounts, and would show the customers what trades they should place.

According to Mr Goddard, sales reps would make sure he was logged in to the software before showing him exactly what to trade on his screen.

“The two main software items that we were using was AnyDesk and TeamViewer, which allows them to get access, obviously, to your computer and therefore they will be able to scroll around with their mouse and show you what they generally wanted … you to do in regards to trading,” he said.

Trader was ‘absolutely panicked’ at losses

While he was prepared to accept some risk, Mr Goddard became increasingly concerned about the extent of those risks and made that clear on a recorded phone call.

Mr Goddard said to the sales consultant, “What I’m saying, I’m not an expert in trades.”

The consultant replied, “No, no you don’t have to be, that’s the beautiful thing.

“That’s for anyone.”

Mr Goddard replied, “I’d rather learn slowly rather than being thrown into what I’m looking at now.”

The consultant persisted and Mr Goddard was pushed to keep trading.

Mr Goddard was trading in a high-risk area known as contracts for difference, where you speculate on movements in foreign exchange rates.

The loss or gain depends on the price when the contract starts and ends, and if the price moves against you it can result in heavy losses.

He estimates having spent more than $130,000 with TradeFred and mounting losses made him feel out of control.

“[It was] devastating, [I was] absolutely panicked about what was going on,” he said.

Mr Goddard’s trading put him in a tough situation where he was suddenly struggling to pay his bills.

Mr Moodie claims that after suffering losses he was then encouraged by sales reps to trade back into the black.

He now believes these were high-pressure sales tactics used on him when he was vulnerable.

“These guys were well trained … and the pressure was, ‘Well, we can get around this, if you put more money in, we can trade this way, and we can trade out of the situation you’re in,'” he said.

“Again, [it was] still new to me, [I was] still learning and I listened to what I thought I was being guided [to do].”

Links to controversial company Union Standard

According to ASIC, TradeFred was aware of customer complaints and made “aware of misconduct that USG (Union Standard) had identified during its reviews of telephone calls”, but the company took inadequate steps to stop the misconduct.

TradeFred was acting as an authorised representative of a controversial Australian company which ran a global foreign exchange empire called Union Standard International Group.

Union Standard is under investigation by liquidators after it collapsed with hundreds of millions of dollars owing to overseas investors and the liquidators have serious doubts about the true identity of a Burmese man, Soe Hein Minn, believed to be its ultimate owner.

Jason Ward is an analyst with the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research.

He’s looked at the company structures of TradeFred and Union Standard and believes there is a concerning lack of transparency over who ultimately benefits, especially with Union Standard.

“The links between TradeFred and Union Standard seem to run pretty deep. TradeFred was operating under a financial services license of Union Standard. For one, they share a common director [John Carlton Martin],” Mr Ward said.

“We don’t know who is behind Union Standard. On paper, there’s a Burmese individual, we don’t know if this person truly exists … and who is benefiting from this.”

Mr Ward argues there is an urgent need for a beneficial ownership register, something currently being considered by the Albanese government.

“Australia’s far behind global standards in terms of public beneficial ownership information,” he said.

Call centres outsourced

The TradeFred sales calls to customers were outsourced to a company based in Israel.

The company Capital Unit Media operated from an office block in Tel Aviv, however its website is no longer active and when 7.30 went to the office the building appeared empty.

7.30 attempted to contact Alex Mishiev, the man who is listed on the Israel company documents for Capital Unit. He did not respond to an interview request or reply to a list of questions.

Mr Mishiev is also linked to a United Kingdom company which owned TradeFred’s Australian operations as its sole shareholder.

He is listed as one of three directors and the person with significant control of TradeFred Holdings Limited.

Another director is Fred Done, the co-founder of gambling giant BetFred. Mr Done declined to comment on the allegations against the Australian operation, saying via a spokesperson: “I do not want to prejudice an ongoing legal claim so cannot comment at this stage.”

7.30 does not suggest that Fred Done had any involvement in the Australian TradeFred business.

The liquidator of TradeFred is Glenn Livingstone from WLP Restructuring.

He is continuing to investigate millions of dollars in payments by the Australian company to two related UK companies which could constitute a practice known as transfer pricing.

Analyst Jason Ward said transfer pricing is a concerning practice.

“There’s … alleged transfer pricing issues and transfer pricing is used to avoid paying tax on money earned in Australia by multinationals and companies,” he said.

“That reduces taxable income in Australia and reduces revenue to pay for public services here in Australia.”

7.30 sought an interview with John Carlton Martin, the sole director of the Australian TradeFred operation, and sent him a list of questions but he did not respond.

ASIC banned Mr Martin from providing financial services for 10 years and from managing corporations for five years.

It found his “lack of understanding or regard for compliance was so serious it justified the making of significant banning and disqualification orders”.

It also said he had failed to address misconduct by TradeFred.

According to the liquidator, Mr Martin advised him he was “responsible for compliance, dealing with customer complaints and monitoring of telephone calls”.

However, he said it appears Mr Martin was not a signatory to the company’s bank accounts.

Third party offers to recover funds

For TradeFred’s customers, the nightmare didn’t end when it collapsed.

Geoff Moodie says he received a phone call and emails from a company called Funds Recovery which said it would help him get his money back from TradeFred.

It proposed charging him more than $6,000 upfront and 10 per cent of any funds recovered, but Mr Moodie decided against going ahead.

He maintains he did not provide his contact details to Funds Recovery.

“[I am] very concerned that they knew about me, they knew about my trading, they knew basically everything about me, which surprised and annoyed me and worried me,” he said.

Liquidator Glenn Livingstone told 7.30 in a statement they had “been made aware from numerous sources that there are third parties approaching customers directly offering to provide refunds or assist in the recovery of money on their behalf.

“Any creditor who is contacted by these parties is advised not to provide any information and to immediately report this to the liquidator.”

‘I feel I’ve let myself down’

After Adrian Goddard made repeated complaints, his TradeFred losses were refunded.

But in about April 2020 he claims he received an unsolicited call from another company called EverFx.

According to Mr Goddard the sales rep claimed that EverFx was taking over from TradeFred.

EverFx, which is now trading under the name Axiance, disputes this, saying it has no association with TradeFred and Mr Goddard must have started trading after seeing its marketing material.

According to his financial counsellor Rachna Bowman, he would eventually lose more than $51,000 with EverFx.

Ms Bowman said she was alarmed by what had happened to Mr Goddard.

“Where was the role of the regulator … to step in and put a stop on things that were happening?” she said.

“It just continued on and on and on, till there was no money left in the pot.

“I’m absolutely appalled that something like this could happen.”

In a statement, Axiance said Mr Goddard was warned about the high risk on the EverFx website and an internal review of his trading did not find any evidence of misconduct.

It also states that EverFx offered Mr Goddard a lump-sum payment which he rejected.

Mr Goddard says he rejected the offer because it was far short of his losses.

Mr Goddard says he regrets ever getting involved in trading foreign currencies.

“It’s not a game you want to play … it’s not worth it,” he said.

His modest dream of buying a small property has been crushed.

“For me, the money meant an opportunity … I’d buy a house for myself and have something to leave for my kids in the future,” he said.

“I feel I’ve let myself down and I feel I’ve let my daughters down.”

Do you know more about this story? Get in touch with 7.30 here.

Posted 9 Jan 20239 Jan 2023, updated 9 Jan 2023

 

Article link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-09/customers-claim-lured-into-foreign-exchange-trading-tradefred/101755610
Article source: ABC 7.30, 9/1/2023

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000
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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Civil society organisations welcome the Future Fund’s exclusion of Elbit Systems, and call on the Federal and Victorian Governments to drop Elbit or risk complicity in serious violations of international law 

by Admin

15 March 2022 | For immediate release

Civil society organisations working for human rights for Palestinians and others welcome the news of Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Future Fund’s exclusion of Israeli arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems Limited from its investment portfolio because of allegations of its involvement in the production of cluster munitions.

The organisations call on the Future Fund as part of its duty to undertake responsible investment and human rights due diligence, to investigate its investment portfolio and divest from any entity involved in or complicit in serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights against the Palestinian people. Some of these serious violations include credible and well documented abuses which amount to serious crimes under international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Australia’s public funds should not be involved in furthering grave human rights abuses. 

They further call on the Victorian Government to immediately cease its partnership with Elbit Systems Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems, to establish a research ‘Centre of Excellence’.  

The organisations call on the Australian Government to suspend its defence cooperation with Israel and any facilitation of defence industry partnerships. These recommendations were supported by a coalition of Palestinian human rights organisations in a 2021 submission with the ACIJ to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which is currently conducting a feasibility study into a Free Trade Agreement with Israel.

The Palestinian people suffering under decades of Israeli military occupation and apartheid have called on the UN Security Council and all states parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, which includes Australia, to impose a two-way arms embargo to protect Palestinians lives.

The organisations are encouraged by the Australian Government’s rapid response to the crisis in Ukraine through implementing measures in responding to and condemning Russia’s illegal invasion and act of aggression in Ukraine. The Australian Government must respond similarly to Israel’s serious, decades long and continued violations of international law.

Executive Director of the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ), Ms Rawan Arraf, said:

“The Victorian Government’s outrageous partnership with Elbit Systems should never have been made. We believe the Victorian Government either neglected to consider the human rights implications of the partnership, or ignored them outright. It’s a shameful partnership that must be suspended on account of Elbit’s complicity with serious human rights abuses and crimes under international law. If it continues, the Victorian Government will stand accused of complicity with international crimes.  

“Further, the Australian Government’s eagerness to enhance defence industry cooperation and partnerships with Israeli defence firms has been forged in complete disregard of Australia’s international legal obligations, and respect for Palestinian human rights. All of these must end.”

Hilmi Dabbagh from BDS Australia said:

“BDS Australia sees the Future Fund’s divestment from Elbit as a milestone development which will have ramifications right throughout state and federal Australian governments, companies and academic institutions whose partnerships and trade with Elbit are highly problematic and in breach of international law. 

“BDS Australia has been calling for an end to Australia’s ties with Elbit for many years and has seen the growth of a strong grassroots movement which in 2017 saw the Royal Flying Doctors end its association with this Israeli arms company. Most recently our campaigns in relation to the Victorian and federal Government’s associations with Elbit, have been met with silence from both governments but are strongly supported by growing numbers of people who want to see an end to Australia’s complicity with the apartheid regime of Israel.” 

Bishop George Browning, President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) said:

“Australia must not explore a free trade agreement with Israel and should halt all military trade while Israel continues its flagrant violations of international law. Israeli officials are under investigation by the International Criminal Court, demonstrating the seriousness of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. Australia must not be complicit.”

Dr Sue Wareham, President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) said:

“The terrible Ukraine crisis has shown us that governments can act quickly when human rights are being grievously violated.  We call for the same level of action to protect the Palestinian people who have long suffered from Israeli military aggression. There is no place in Australia for partnerships with companies, such as Elbit Systems, that are complicit in inflicting human harm.”

Endorsed by:

Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN)

Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) 

Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA)

Australian Palestinian Professionals Association (APPA)

Australian Students for BDS (ASBDS)

Australian Unionists Supporting Palestine

Australians for Palestine (AFP)

BDS Australia

Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP)

Federation of Italian Migrant Workers and their Families (FILEF)

Free Gaza Australia

Free Palestine Melbourne

Friends of Hebron (FOH)

Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA)

General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW)

Justice for Palestine, Meanjin (Brisbane) (JFP)

Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) 

Palestine Fair Trade Australia (PFTA) 

Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN)

Palestinian Christians in Australia (PCiA)

Media enquiries contact:

Australian Centre for International Justice – Rawan Arraf: 0450 708 870

BDS Australia: contact@bdsaustralia.net.au

Notes:

Elbit Systems is an Israeli based manufacturer of military, security and surveillance equipment and is widely known as a major research and development partner to Israel’s Ministry of Defence, who after the US Government, is its second biggest customer. 

Elbit is known for its drones (UAVs) and land weapons.

In 2018 Elbit Systems completed its acquisition of Israel-state owned IMI (Israel Military Industries). IMI – which was merged into Elbit Systems Land manufactures and supplies a wide range of weapons, munitions, missiles, tanks and military technology to the Israeli military. Elbit is also a major partner to Israel’s police and Ministry of Interior. More information on Elbit can be found on WhoProfits.com.

Elbit Systems is excluded from many investment funds, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds worldwide including but not limited to:

  • NZ Super excluded Elbit Systems in 2012 for involvement in Israel’s illegal construction of the Annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank;
  • Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, NBIM excluded Elbit Systems in 2009 for supplying surveillance equipment used on the occupied West Bank’s Annexation Wall;
  • Norway’s KLP excluded Elbit Systems in 2010 for its involvement in the illegal construction of the Annexation wall. It excluded it again in 2021 for its role in production of cluster munitions; 
  • Sweden’s largest state pension funds AP1-4 excluded Elbit in 2010 for its involvement in the Annexation Wall and illegal settlements the occupied Palestinian territory;
  • Denmark’s Dankse Bank excluded Elbit in 2010 for its role in the Annexation wall and in illegal settlements;
  • Sweden’s Nordea Bank;
  • Sweden’s SEB Group;
  • HSBC divested from Elbit in 2018;
  • French investment firm AXA Investment Managers divested from Elbit in 2018; and 
  • Luxembourg’s general pension fund, Fonds De Compensation, FDC in 2014.  

In February 2021, the Victorian Government announced it has entered into a partnership with Elbit Systems Australia to build a ‘Centre of Excellence for Human and Machine Teaming’. For more information see  Stop Elbit BDS campaign

In September 2017, the NSW Royal Flying Doctor Service confirmed it will not contract with Elbit Systems.

Elbit is said to have supplied equipment to the Myanmar military, before the military’s ethnic cleansing clearing operations against the Rohingya people and following the military coup in February 2021.

According to West Papuan human rights advocates, Elbit is alleged to have supplied equipment to the Indonesian military used to suppress human rights in occupied West Papua.




2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000
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