U.S. charges New York company with illegal Chinese equipment sales

© Reuters. U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue announces the filing of criminal charges accusing a New York company of exposing the U.S. government and private customers to security risks by illegally importing and selling surveillance and security equipment from Chin © Reuters. U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue announces the filing of criminal charges accusing a New York company of exposing the U.S. government and private customers to security risks by illegally importing and selling surveillance and security equipment from Chin

By Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges accusing a New York company of exposing the U.S. government and private customers to security risks by illegally importing and selling surveillance and security equipment from China.

The charges against Aventura Technologies Inc, which is based in Commack, New York, and seven current and former employees were made public on Thursday in the federal court in Brooklyn. Six of the people have been arrested, including Jack Cabasso, the man accused of leading the scheme.

Cabasso was ordered jailed without bail following a brief court appearance, while the other five, including Cabasso’s wife, Frances Cabasso, were released. Aventura and lawyers for the Cabassos could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors said the defendants falsely told customers that Aventura’s products were made in the United States rather than imported, mainly from China, in a scheme that ran from 2006 until this month. Some of those products carried known cybersecurity risks, according to prosecutors.

The company’s largest customers are U.S. government agencies including the Army, Navy and Air Force, though it also sold to private companies, making about $ 88 million since 2010, prosecutors said.

Founded in 1999, Aventura describes itself on its website as a “true ‘single-source’ manufacturer” providing security hardware, software and peripheral products to government, military and enterprise customers.

According to the complaint, Aventura sometimes sold Chinese imports with false “Made in the U.S.A.” labels already affixed or displayed on packaging.

U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said the government began investigating the alleged scheme after a member of an Air Force security unit saw an image of a Chinese security service badge in software for one device.

Prosecutors said Aventura reported having sold $ 20.7 million of security equipment to the U.S. government through the end of 2018 via U.S. General Services Administration contracts.

They also accused Aventura of misrepresenting itself as a “woman-owned small business” in order to win government contracts set aside for such businesses, falsely listing Cabasso’s wife, Frances, as the company’s owner and chief executive.

The complaint included communications that, according to prosecutors, show the defendants knew about the illegal imports.

It quoted an instant message from the defendant Eduard Matulik, a director of international sales, to a colleague saying ‘im going to china because I need to know what we are selling and have to source a bunch of stuff,” and that “jack doesn’t have time and we don’t know what we are selling anymore.”

Prosecutors said in court papers that Jack Cabasso should not be released on bail because his wealth, foreign connections and “lengthy criminal history,” including a conviction for tampering with a jury in an earlier fraud case against him, point to a high risk that he will flee the country.

They said they had seized $ 3 million and a luxury yacht from him, but believed he has other assets offshore.

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Actor Cuba Gooding Jr to plead not guilty to new charges in groping case: lawyer

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cuba Gooding Jr will plead not guilty on Tuesday to new charges brought by Manhattan prosecutors who previously accused the actor of groping a woman at a bar, the his lawyer said.

Gooding was charged with one misdemeanor count of forcible touching in June after an unidentified woman said the actor had touched her breasts in a Manhattan bar. He has denied the allegation and faces a maximum sentence of up to a year in prison if found guilty.

The new charges, which are not yet public, are part of the same criminal case but stem from a separate incident, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

Gooding is scheduled to enter his plea in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Gooding, 51, won a supporting actor Oscar in 1997 for “Jerry Maguire” and is known for roles in films including “A Few Good Men” and “The Butler” and in the television miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

Gooding had been scheduled to go to trial on the original charges Thursday, but the additional charges mean the trial will be delayed. A new date has not yet been set.

“It’s very obvious to us that the District Attorney has failed to establish evidence that would have resulted in a conviction” on the original charges, Heller said Monday in an interview.

Heller said he believed prosecutors were trying to delay the case by bringing the new charges.

“We’re very confident that the case will be dismissed,” he said.

Gooding, who is divorced, is one of dozens of men in politics, entertainment, sports and the business world who have been accused of sexual misconduct since allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein triggered the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein is to stand trial in New York later this year on charges of rape and assault involving two women. He has denied any non-consensual sex.

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Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. to face new U.S. charges in groping case

© Reuters. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in New York State Criminal Court in the Manhattan borough of New York © Reuters. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in New York State Criminal Court in the Manhattan borough of New York

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Actor Cuba Gooding Jr.’s trial on charges of groping a woman at a Manhattan bar was postponed Thursday as prosecutors revealed they had brought new charges against him in connection with another incident.

Gooding is expected to appear in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday to enter a plea to the new charges, which are not yet public, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

Gooding won a supporting actor Oscar in 1997 for “Jerry Maguire” and is known for his roles in films including “A Few Good Men” and “The Butler” and the television miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

He had been scheduled to go to trial on the original charges Thursday, but the additional charges mean the trial will be delayed. A new date has not yet been set.

Gooding’s lawyer, Mark Heller, said video from the bar where his client was accused of groping the woman “clearly shows that there was no groping or crime.”

“Clearly the prosecutor was not prepared to proceed to trial in this case,” he said.

Heller said he did not have any details about the new charges.

“I doubt it’s anything that’s credible,” he said.

Gooding, 51, was charged with one misdemeanor count of forcible touching in June after an unidentified woman said the actor had touched her breasts in a bar. He has denied the allegation.

Gooding, who is divorced, is one of dozens of men in politics, entertainment, sports and the business world who have been accused of sexual misconduct since allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein triggered the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein is to stand trial in New York later this year on charges of rape and assault involving two women. He has denied any non-consensual sex.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Former Maldives president pleads not guilty to charges of money laundering

By Mohamed Junayd

MALE (Reuters) – Abdulla Yameen, the former president of the Maldives, pled not guilty to charges of money laundering on Sunday, in the first hearing of a criminal court trial into the matter.

Yameen, who drew the Indian Ocean island country closer to China during his tenure, is accused of receiving $ 1 million of government money through a private company, SOF Private Ltd, which has been implicated in a corrupt deal to lease tropical islands for hotel development.

The corruption scandal, originally uncovered by an internal audit, has also implicated several other leading politicians and businessmen, all of whom have denied any wrongdoing.

SOF Private could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yameen, who unexpectedly lost an election last year, was arrested in February. He has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.

During Sunday’s hearing, which was broadcast nationally in a historic move, the court dismissed five pre-trial motions filed by Yameen’s lawyers challenging the validity of the charges against him.

The defense’s arguments did not amount to a valid reason to not proceed to trial, the judge ruled.

The prosecution’s witnesses will begin to testify at the next trial date on August 4. If found guilty, Yameen could face a jail sentence of between five to 15 years.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Charges dropped against McGregor in phone incident

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor of Ireland raises a cup of Irish whiskey during post-fight news conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor of Ireland raises a cup of Irish whiskey during post-fight news conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

Prosecutors dropped charges against UFC star Conor McGregor for allegedly stealing and smashing a man’s phone outside a Miami Beach hotel.

McGregor, 30, was arrested on March 11 after police said he took a phone from Ahmed Abdirzak and stomped on it several times before putting it in his pocket and driving away. McGregor was released that day on a $ 5,000 bond.

The fighter was allegedly upset that Abdirzak was trying to record a video on his phone.

The State Attorney’s Office dropped charges of robbery by sudden snatching and criminal mischief at a hearing Monday. Prosecutors said charges were dropped because Abdirzak had stopped cooperating, according to the Miami Herald.

Prosecutor Khalil Madani said the 22-year-old London-based man had recanted his story.

“The victim of the crime does not wish to return to the United States and prosecute this case,” Madani said.

“I think this was the appropriate resolution of this case,” said Sam Rabin, McGregor’s defense attorney.

Abdirzak dropped his civil suit against the former two-division UFC title holder after reaching an out-of-court settlement last month.

–Field Level Media

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Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Hacking ‘hero’ Marcus Hutchins pleads guilty to US malware charges

A British man hailed as a hero for stopping a global cyber-attack that was threatening the NHS has pleaded guilty to US malware charges.

Marcus Hutchins, 24, has pleaded guilty to two charges related to writing malware – or malicious software – court documents show.

Writing on his website, Hutchins said he regretted his actions and accepted “full responsibility for my mistakes”.

Hutchins has been held in the US since he was arrested by the FBI in 2017.

“As you may be aware, I’ve pleaded guilty to two charges related to writing malware in the years prior to my career in security,” he wrote on his website.

“I regret these actions and accept full responsibility for my mistakes.

“Having grown up, I’ve since been using the same skills that I misused several years ago for constructive purposes. I will continue to devote my time to keeping people safe from malware attacks.”

Hutchins, from Ilfracombe in Devon, was credited with stopping the WannaCry malware which was threatening the NHS and other organisations in May 2017.

But he was arrested at Los Angeles Airport in August of that year as he travelled home from a conference in the US.

FBI agents arrested Hutchins on 2 August 2017 at Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport as he started his journey home after attending the Def Con hacker conference.

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Forex – Yen Gains as Huawei Charges Ramp up Trade Concerns

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

Investing.com – The safe haven yen was higher against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after U.S. authorities hit Chinese technology firm Huawei with criminal charges, ratcheting up trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The U.S. Department of Justice , its chief financial officer and two affiliates with bank and wire fraud to violate sanctions against Iran.

Investors fear the charges could complicate set to begin on Wednesday when China’s Vice Premier Liu He will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and others.

Unless an agreement is reached by March 1, U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will raise tariffs on Chinese imports from 10% to 25%, a move which investors fear will exacerbate the global economic slowdown.

“There is a much lesser chance now that we get anything positive out of these trade negotiations,” said Nick Twidale, chief operating officer at Rakuten Securities.

“This is likely to be bad for risky assets such as stocks and we expect the dollar/yen and Australian dollar to be under pressure,” Twidale said.

The yen, a currency sought out during times of market uncertainty or economic stress, was higher against the greenback, with down 0.1% at a more than one-week low of 109.23 by 03:48 AM ET (08:48 GMT).

The , a gauge of its value versus six major peers, was down 0.11% at a two-week low of 95.31.

Investors are looking ahead to the upcoming Federal Reserve policy announcement on Wednesday where Chairman Jerome Powell is widely expected to acknowledge as global momentum weakens.

Investors expect the Fed to adopt a more cautious stance on policy than they did in 2018, pressured by signs of a peak in U.S. corporate earnings and the loss of economic momentum both at home and globally.

The euro was a touch higher, with changing hands at 1.1447.

The British pound was flat, with at 1.3162 ahead of a series of votes on later in the day after the overwhelming rejection of Prime Minister Teresa’s May’s Brexit plan earlier this month.

Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29, but the country’s members of parliament remain far from agreeing a divorce deal

Sterling was weaker against the firmer euro, with rising 0.17% to 0.8692.

— Reuters contributed to this report

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Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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US files charges against China's Huawei and CFO Meng Wanzhou

The US Justice Department has filed a host of criminal charges against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

The charges against the world’s second largest smartphone maker include accusations of bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology.

The case could ratchet up tensions between China and the US, and impact the firm’s global expansion efforts.

Both Ms Meng and Huawei deny the allegations.

Ms Meng was arrested in Canada last month at the request of the US for allegedly evading sanctions on Iran.

“For years, Chinese firms have broken our export laws and undermined sanctions, often using US financial systems to facilitate their illegal activities. This will end,” said US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

What are the charges?

The indictment alleges Huawei misled the US and a global bank about its relationship with two subsidiaries, Huawei Device USA and Skycom Tech, to conduct business with Iran.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has reinstated all sanctions on Iran removed under a 2015 nuclear deal and recently imposed even stricter measures, hitting oil exports, shipping and banks.

A second case alleges Huawei stole technology from T Mobile used to test smartphone durability, as well as obstructing justice and committing wire fraud.

The T-Mobile tech, known as Tappy, mimicked human fingers to test phones.

In all, the US has laid 23 charges against the company.

“These charges lay bare Huawei’s alleged blatant disregard for the laws of our country and standard global business practices,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“Companies like Huawei pose a dual threat to both our economic and national security.”

What’s the context?

Huawei is one of the largest telecommunications equipment and services providers in the world, recently passing Apple to become the second biggest smartphone maker after Samsung.

But the US and other Western nations have been concerned that the Chinese government could use Huawei’s technology to expand its spying ability, although the firm insists there is no government control.

The arrest of Ms Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, infuriated China.

She was arrested on 1 December in Canada’s western city of Vancouver at the request of the US.

She was later granted a C$ 10m (£5.7m; $ 7.6m) bail by a local court. But she is under surveillance 24 hours a day and must wear an electronic ankle tag.

The US charges come the day after Canada fired its ambassador to China, soon after he publicly said the US extradition request for Ms Meng was flawed.

Days after Ms Meng’s arrest in December, China detained two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – in what some have seen as a tit-for-tat response.

Chinese “national champion” faces US justice

Analysis by Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent

Huawei is what the Chinese call a national champion. A private firm, tasked with China’s ambitions to go into the world and lead the way.

But now the full force of the US justice system is being hurled at the firm.

The allegations by the US Department of Justice are the most serious Huawei has ever seen, and go to the heart of the trade war between China and the US.

Huawei has consistently denied the allegations, and the firm’s boss says it is being used as a pawn in power games between the US and China.

While the US says the charges against Huawei aren’t about trade war, it is unlikely the Chinese will see it the same way.

The charges come as the US and China prepare to hold high-level trade talks in Washington this week.

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross stated that the Huawei charges were “wholly separate” from ongoing trade negotiations with China.

President Trump’s administration has imposed tariffs on $ 250bn (£190bn) worth of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to respond with its own tariffs.

Both countries agreed last month to suspend new tariffs for 90 days to allow talks.

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JD.com CEO will not face assault charges in Minnesota

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: JD.com founder Richard Liu poses during a Reuters interview in Hong Kong © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: JD.com founder Richard Liu poses during a Reuters interview in Hong Kong

By Lawrence Delevingne and Koh Gui Qing

(Reuters) – Minnesota prosecutors will not charge the billionaire chief executive officer of China’s JD.com Inc, Richard Liu, after he was accused of rape by a University of Minnesota student during a recent U.S. visit, authorities said on Friday.

Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said there were "profound evidentiary problems which would have made it highly unlikely that any criminal charge could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

In a statement, Freeman said that after an investigation by Minneapolis police and a review by four senior sexual assault prosecutors, it was clear his office could not meet its burden of proof, and therefore could not bring charges.

"Because we do not want to re-victimize the young woman, we will not be going into detail," Freeman said.

The 45-year-old Liu, who grew JD.com from a humble electronics stall to an e-commerce giant with 2017 net revenues of $ 55.7 billion and maintains tight control of the company, was released without charge about 17 hours after he was arrested on Aug. 31.

He quickly returned to China, where he has continued to run the company. His representatives have maintained his innocence after the woman from China studying at the University of Minnesota accused him of rape.

Liu said in a social media post he felt "utter self-admonishment and regret" for the "enormous pain" his "actions on that day" caused his family, especially his wife, internet celebrity Zhang Zetian.

"I immediately confessed to her the truth, and hope she can accept my most sincere apologies," he said in a statement on the Weibo platform.

Liu said the decision by prosecutors not to press charges proved that he had not violated any laws "from to start to finish".

He said he had been unable to defend himself earlier despite "misleading information" and could not respond to comments in social media and news reports because he did not want to obstruct the investigation and judicial process.

JD.com shares extended gains on Friday after news spread of the decision not to prosecute, and closed up 5.9 percent.

The case has attracted extreme interest in China. Liu could have faced up to 30 years in prison under Minnesota law if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct.

‘STORY WILL BE TOLD’

On Friday, Freeman said the three months it took his office to review Liu’s case was not unusual for a sexual assault investigation, especially one in which no one was in custody.

"It had nothing to do with Liu’s status as a wealthy, foreign businessman," Freeman said in his statement.

A lawyer for the student who accused Liu criticized the decision, saying it showed why victims of sexual assault feared coming forward, and questioned why prosecutors waited to issue a release until late on the Friday before Christmas.

Investigators "never met this victim; they never spoke to this victim; they never sought to meet with her lawyers," the attorney, Wil Florin, said in a statement.

"Her story will be told. On her behalf we will not permit her dignity to be simply swept under the rug."

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Florin’s statement.

An attorney for Liu said they welcomed the decision, and hoped that it would dispel "misinformation and speculation".

"Mr Liu was arrested based on a false claim, and after a thorough investigation, with which he fully cooperated, the declination of charges vindicates him," Liu’s attorney, Jill Brisbois, said in a statement.

Florin said his client will file a civil lawsuit, saying they looked forward to a civil jury hearing the "full and complete story" and determining whether Liu, JD.com and their representatives should be held accountable.

Reuters previously reported details of what happened while Liu was in Minneapolis, including a description of the alleged attack and the events around it given by the now-22-year-old student.

Usually based in Beijing, Liu made the U.S. trip for a week long residency program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, which runs a doctor of business administration program with China’s elite Tsinghua University.

The University of Minnesota said it had no comment on Friday’s announcement.

The decision to not prosecute followed criticism of Minneapolis authorities, including Freeman’s office, for what some see as a failure to pursue sexual assault cases adequately.

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Former Malaysian PM Najib, 1MDB ex-CEO face fresh corruption charges

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO:  A construction worker walks past a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A construction worker walks past a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian prosecutors on Wednesday filed new graft charges against former prime minister Najib Razak and the former chief executive of scandal-linked state fund 1MDB, in the latest cases over alleged theft of billions of dollars from the fund.

Anti-graft investigators this week questioned Najib and the former fund official over accusations that the former premier’s office had tampered with a 2016 government audit into the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The audit was commissioned amid reports of skyrocketing debt and financial mismanagement at the fund, founded by Najib in 2009.

Najib had "secured protection from disciplinary, civil or criminal action related to 1MDB" by directing for the audit report to be amended before it was finalised, according to a prosecutors’ charge-sheet read to him in court.

Najib pleaded not guilty to a charge of abusing his position as prime minister, a conviction on which carries a jail term of up to 20 years, or a fine of 10,000 ringgit ($ 2,402), or both.

The fund’s former chief executive, Arul Kanda Kandasamy, pleaded not guilty to abetting Najib.

Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said his client could not have tampered with the audit, as he was only accused of having directed changes to a draft of the report, rather than the final version.

"In this charge, it’s quite clear that it is no longer the allegation…that he had in fact tampered with the audit report," Muhammad Shafee told reporters.

Malaysian officials had said the audit report changes Najib ordered had included removing a mention of the presence of financier Low Taek Jho at a 1MDB board meeting.

Low, who is at large and has previously denied wrongdoing, has been charged by both Malaysian and U.S. authorities, who describe him as a central player in the alleged theft of about $ 4.5 billion dollars from 1MDB.

Civil lawsuits filed by the United States say billions of dollars were diverted from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, and that about $ 1 billion made its way into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

Najib, who was ousted in May by a coalition led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, faces 38 charges of money laundering, graft and breach of trust, most of them linked to 1MDB. He has denied wrongdoing and his trial is due to begin next year.

Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and other officials of his administration have also been charged with corruption. All have pleaded not guilty.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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