Geordie Shore star among influencers accused of plugging unauthorised investments

Scott Timlin arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court
Scott Timlin arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court - JORDAN PETTITT/PA

A former Geordie Shore star is among a group of social media influencers who have pleaded not guilty to plugging unauthorised investments.

Scott Timlin, 36, is one of nine influencers to have been charged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in relation to an unauthorised foreign exchange trading scheme on social media.

The FCA has alleged that Emmanuel Nwanze, 30, and Holly Thompson, 34, used an Instagram account, @‌holly-fx trends, to provide advice on buying and selling contracts for difference (CFDs) when they were not authorised to do so.

It said CFDs were high-risk investments, with 80 per cent of customers who invest in them losing money.

The watchdog also alleges that Nwanze paid The Only Way Is Essex’s Lauren Goodger, 37; and Yazmin Oukhellou, 30; Love Island’s Biggs Chris, 32; Jamie Clayton, 32; Rebecca Gormley, 26; and Eva Zapico, 25; and Geordie Shore’s Timlin to promote the account to their 4.5 million Instagram followers.

All defendants face a count of issuing unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

Yazmin Oukhellou is charged in relation to promotions of unauthorised investments on social media
Yazmin Oukhellou is charged in relation to promotions of unauthorised investments on social media - JAMES VEYSEY/SHUTTERSTOCK

Nwanze also faces one count of breaching a general prohibition under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, which prohibits people from carrying out regulated activities in the UK unless they are authorised to do so.

Timlin appeared in person at Westminster Magistrates’ Court alongside Oukhellou, Nwanze and Zapico.

He pleaded not guilty to one count of unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

Nwanze also pleaded not guilty to the same charge, as well as one count of breaching the General Prohibition.

Thompson, who appeared via video link alongside Goodger, pleaded not guilty to one count of unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

The remaining defendants provided no indication of their pleas.

The so-called “finfluencers” face up to two years in prison if convicted.

A trial preparation hearing has been set for July 11 at Southwark Crown Court and the nine defendants have been granted unconditional bail until this date.