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Former Geordie Shore star pleads not guilty to financial promotion charge

Scott Timlin is charged with plugging unauthorised investments on social media (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Scott Timlin is charged with plugging unauthorised investments on social media (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

A former Geordie Shore star has 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% of customers who invest in them losing money.

Reality TV star Emmanuel Nwanze, with a scarf covering his mouth and nose, arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Reality TV star Emmanuel Nwanze arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

The watchdog also alleges that Nwanze paid Towie’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 Scott Timlin to promote the account to their 4.5 million Instagram followers.

Nwanze, Thompson, Chris, Clayton, Goodger, Gormley, Oukhellou, Timlin and Zapico each face one count of issuing unauthorised communications of financial promotions.

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.

Yazmin Oukhellou wearing dark sunglasses as she arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Yazmin Oukhellou arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

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 nine defendants have been granted unconditional bail until this date.