The police in the western Finnish region Ostrobothnia have arrested a promoter of the MLM digital currency scam OneCoin, reports the Finnish public media Yle.
According to the police commissioner Antti Perälä, there are two suspects in an economic crime case, one of whom has been dealing with Onecoin. The investigation is being conducted in co-operation with the Finnish tax authorities, which have been keeping an eye on individuals who are active in the OneCoin scheme. The findings have led to the launch of a criminal case for gross tax fraud and gross corruption.
The OneCoin “currency” first appeared in Finland in 2015, but it is hard to estimate the financial damage it has inflicted in the country. According to Perälä, about 20 000 Finns invested over half a million euro, mainly in the so-called “OneCoin Academy”, which supposedly turns people into financial experts for a fee of between €100 and €20 000.
The arrests in Finland are the latest chapter of the OneCoin saga. Earlier this year authorities in India arrested individuals involved in the scheme in the country. The German authorities have launched a criminal investigation and banned the activities of OneCoin this spring, while Hungary set up a task force to look into the Ponzi scheme.
OneCoin is a special type of cryptocurrency that could bring big profits to those who sign up for the training “seminars” of the company. The company claims it has mined 749,970,000 OneCoins and has “ global customer base of millions of people in over 195 countries and six continents and is independent of governments”. The scheme is ran by the Bulgarian Dr. Ruzha Ignatova and has the penchant of throwing lavish parties across the world to promote itself and attract gullible investors.
The scheme repeatedly turns up in the sights of various financial regulators, most recently of Belize, Austria’s FMA and Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). There have been warnings against it from Belgium, UK, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, investigations in Sweden and publications in various European media telling of the scam and likening the OneCoin to “Monopoly money”. Some regulators, like Hungary’s c-bank Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB), has described OneCoin as a “Ponzi scheme”.