Love Island and Towie stars appear in court accused of promoting dodgy investments on Instagram

13 June 2024, 16:22 | Updated: 13 June 2024, 16:38

Yazmin Oukhellou, Scott Timlin and Eva Zapico arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court.
Yazmin Oukhellou, Scott Timlin and Eva Zapico arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Picture: Rex

By Alex Croft

Love Island and Towie stars have appeared in court for allegedly promoting dodgy investments on Instagram.

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The stars were in the spotlight on Thursday as they appeared in court amid a row over plugging dodgy investment schemes.

Love Island and Towie celebs are accused of promoting a foreign exchange trading scheme, which was not authorised by authorities on Instagram.

Yazmin Oukhellou, 30, and Lauren Goodger, 37, from Towie were joined by Eva Zapico, 25, from Love Island, and Scott Timlin, 36, from Geordie Shore, in a pre-trial hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Biggs Chris, 32, Jamie Clayton, 32, and Rebecca Gormley, 26, from Love Island are also alleged to have promoted the scheme - but will not face their pre-trial hearing until July 3.

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Scott Timlin - otherwise known as Scotty T - arrived looking cheerful
Scott Timlin arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court with a smile on his face. Picture: Rex
Eva Zapico arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court in a white shirt
Eva Zapico did not issue a plea in court. Picture: Rex

The influencers involved have a combined Instagram following of 4.5 million followers, according to the BBC.

Some 80 percent of people who took part in the high-risk investment scheme are reported to have lost their money.

It was run by Emmanuel Nwanze, 30, and Holly Thompson, 33, who are accused by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of using Instagram account @holly_fxtrends to provide unauthorised advice on buying and selling contracts for difference (CFDs).

The FCA describes CFDs as a “high risk investment product used to bet on the price of an asset”. In Mr Nwanze and Ms Thompson’s case, the asset was foreign currency.

Emmanuel Nwanze arrives in Westminster Magistrates' Court with his face covered
Emmanuel Nwanze is accused of paying celebs to promote the unauthorised investment. Picture: Rex

If convicted, the accused “finfluencers” face up to two years behind bars.

Mr Nwanze and Ms Thompson are accused of pushing the trading scheme between May 2018 and April 2021.

But the FCA vowed to crack down on “finfluencers”, and on May 16 they brought the first ever charges against celebrities for breaching the rules of financial promotions.

Mr Nwanze, Mr Timlin and Ms Thompson today pleaded not guilty to their charges, while Goodger, Oukhellou and Zapico gave no indication of plea.

The defendants have been released on unconditional bail until the next hearing on July 11.

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