Last updated on June 14, 2020
We have been in intensive contact with client-victims of the RoyalsFX broker scam in the last weeks. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA and the Italian CONSOB have warned against the RoyalsFX scheme which worked with Maxigrid and its crypto payment platform BitandBuy.
BitandBuy is a trademark of Maxigrid Ltd (formerly AGM Markets), registered in Cyprus and regulated by CySEC as CIF (No 145/11) and operated under the subdomain https://crypto.maxigrid.com. The directors of the company are Roy Almagor, Jekaterina Pedosa, and Nikolai Monogarov. Through EU Passporting Maxigrid is also active with its trademarks in other EU countries.
A Victims Case
One of the defrauded RoyalFX scam victims lost more than €375,000 in this scam via BitandBuy. This victim (identity is known to FinTelegram) has provided documents and emails which show beyond any doubt that the BitandBuy crypto exchange acted as a payment processor for the RoyalsFX scam. However, according to the documents and minutes of conversations, it is clear that BitandBuy may have been more than just an independently acing payment processor. Rather, it looks like a sort of related company.
The victim transferred more than €375,000 to BitandBuy via bank transfer. There the FIAT was converted to Bitcoin (BTC) which vanished into the RoyalsFX scam. How exactly, the BTC vanished is the big question here.
Denial of Relationship
In emails to the RoyalsFX victim, Katerina Papanicolaou of Maxigrid denied any relationship and/or involvement with the RoyalsFX scam. However, the RoyalsFX account manager called Elisabeth Landolf, showed herself informed about the client’s activities with BitandBuy in great detail. The victim claims that it was actually RoyalsFX that withdrew his Bitcoins (BTC) from his BitandBuy wallet.
FinTelegram was set on cc on many emails between the victim, RoyalsFX, and BitandBuy and thus has first-hand information. In this respect, we can confirm that there was indeed a rather close relationship between RoyalsFX and BitandBuy. Ms Landolf of RoyalsFX actually coordinated the payment process with BitandBuy and evidently communicated with their people.
The movements on the victim’s BitandBuy wallet are also likely to be made from an IP address that does not belong to the victim and/or can be related to the victim. Rather, the IP address should belong to RoyalsFX.
Regulation, KYC and AML
It should be noted that the BitandBuy platform seems not included in the scope of the CySEC license in the first place. However, since BitandBuy is a subdomain of the “approved” Maxigrid domain, these activities do fall under the supervision of the CySEC. The reference on the BitandBuy website itself also suggests that this is a regulated activity. Finally, Maxigrid also confirmed to the victim in writing that the crypto payment services were provided with permission from CySEC.
The Swiss FINMA already warned against RoyalsFX in February 2020 and CONSOB at the beginning of March 2020, at which point BitandBuy should have terminated its business relationship with RoyalsFX. According to BitandBuy‘s statement, the transactions of the aforementioned customer victim took place between March 23, 2020, and May 1, 2020.
As per its license, the Company provides the Investment and Ancillary services. Additionally,
As a CySEC regulated company, Maxigrid must make appropriate KYC and AML and also take precautions to ensure that client funds are properly managed. The license does not actually allow Maxigrid to operate a crypto exchange or a crypto payment processor. At least none of this is mentioned on the CySEC website.
Share information with FinTelegram
We would like to know more about RoyalsFX, BitandBuy, and Maxigrid. Therefore, we would be grateful if victims and/or customers of these brands would share their experience with FinTelegram. You can send us your information anonymously via our whistleblower system.