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A special investigation team was formed with four Assistant Police Inspectors and 15 personnel under Senior Police Inspector Shivaji Awate to follow the money trail for further arrests. On 28 April , Bank of Thailand issued a warning against OneCoin, stating it was an illegal digital currency and that it should not be used in trade. OneLife Network Ltd was directed to cease and desist from carrying on with the illegal trading business.
They stated that the document was against the MPI regulations and that the person who supposedly signed the document was not in the position claimed by the document at the time when the document was created. MPI warned individuals and enterprises to be vigilant if they encounter the document during business. On 17 and 18 January , Bulgarian police raided OneCoin's office in Sofia at the request of the prosecutor's office in Bielefeld , Germany.
German police and Europol took part in the bust and the investigation. Also 14 other companies, tied to OneCoin, were investigated and 50 witnesses were questioned. OneCoin's servers and other material evidence were seized. The reporters believe that Ignatova resides in Frankfurt under a false identity. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Bulgarian multi-level marketing company.
Not to be confused with the Onecoin issued by Chinese company Xunlei. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. February The Atlantic. Retrieved 5 June Retrieved 25 March The Indian Express. Retrieved 10 July The Times. Retrieved 28 January South China Morning Post. Retrieved 29 May Then its leader disappeared". Retrieved 27 August Bangkok Post. Retrieved 12 March United States Department of Justice.
BBC News. Retrieved 19 November Behind MLM. Retrieved 26 September Archived from the original on 17 November Retrieved 20 May Retrieved 10 January Retrieved 24 March Retrieved 15 November And if sellers have invested their own money, they are victims too. He didn't get it, and in December he quit. I ask if he felt guilty, for having sold so many people a coin that didn't exist, and for having made so much money in the process.
Not guilt," he replies. I had no clue that it could be false. I didn't even know what is a blockchain… What doubt can I have? By contrast, Jen McAdam says she bears a heavy burden of guilt. She feels guilty towards those who she introduced to OneCoin, she says, but also towards her late father, a miner, who worked hard all his life in horrible conditions, and left her the money that she then gave away.
It's hard to know how much money has been put into OneCoin. There's a famous saying in journalism, "Follow the money. The problem, he explains, is that following the money isn't as easy as it sounds, because criminals structure their companies and bank accounts in such a way that their assets seem to disappear.
But when it comes to someone trying to find them - whether that's a journalist or a police officer - they are invisible. It's no surprise, then, that OneCoin's corporate structure is incredibly complicated. Here's an example: Ruja bought a very large property in central Sofia.
Technically it was owned by a company called One Property. One Property was owned by another company called Risk Ltd. Risk Ltd was owned by Ruja, but was then transferred to some unnamed Panamanians, but it was still managed by another company called Peragon. And Peragon was owned by another company called Artefix, which was owned by Ruja's mother, Veska. And then in , the ownership of Artefix was sold to an unknown man in his 20s.
For several months, a French journalist called Maxime Grimbert tried to unpick OneCoin's corporate workings, collecting as many company names and bank account details as he could. I show his results to Bullough, who immediately notices how many British companies there are.
He takes the first one on the list and looks it up on the Companies House website. Everything is meant to be transparent - the website contains the details of every company in the UK. It's thought to be a key anti-corruption tool. They have filed no financial information at all. The UK began to insist recently that companies must enter the name of the person with "significant control" - the real owner.
That's illegal… That is an anonymous shell company, as anonymous as anything that you can buy anywhere in the Seychelles or Nevis or the Marshall Islands or Vanuatu. So much for following the money. In an interconnected global economy, assets can simply vanish, and you end up chasing shadows. When you're dealing with a scam worth billions of euros, it's not unusual for shadowy groups to get involved.
Several of the people Georgia and I interviewed spoke darkly about mysterious people and connections they didn't want to name. He tells me he's received death threats as a result of speaking out. I would have just turned my back and walked away," he says. When I ask him who might be behind the threats, he won't elaborate. It starts to get very very very scary, very very very fast.
People involved at the early stages have told him it was never supposed to be a billion-dollar scam. She tried to close it down, he says, but the dark forces wouldn't let her. Igor Alberts, the MLM seller, also talks about the involvement of "very influential people". When I ask for more details, he replies: "No, I cannot tell that because I don't want to take that risk with our lives.
It's not clear who Bjorn and Igor are talking about, or whether they are even talking about the same people, but the US Department of Justice claims to have evidence of a link between Dr Ruja's brother, Konstantin Ignatov - who took over the running of OneCoin when Ruja disappeared - and "significant players in Eastern European organised crime".
Just as he was boarding his flight home, he was pounced on by FBI agents, arrested ,and charged with fraud in connection with OneCoin. Around the same time, the US authorities charged Dr Ruja in absentia for wire fraud, security fraud and money laundering. Amazingly, even after this, OneCoin continued to function - and people continued to invest in it.
When Georgia and I visited Sofia a month later, Dr Ruja's personal mansion appeared to be locked up and empty, but the OneCoin office gave every appearance of being a busy workplace. Investors often told us that what drew them in initially was the fear that they would miss out on the next big thing.
They'd read, with envy, the stories of people striking gold with Bitcoin and thought OneCoin was a second chance. Many were struck by the personality and persuasiveness of the "visionary" Dr Ruja. Investors might not have understood the technology, but they could see her talking to huge audiences, or at the Economist conference.
They were shown photographs of her numerous degrees, and copies of Forbes magazine with her portrait on the front cover. The degrees are genuine. The Forbes cover isn't: it was actually an inside cover - a paid-for advertisement - from Forbes Bulgaria, but once the real cover was ripped off, it looked impressive.
But it seems it's not just the promise of riches that keeps people believing. She was entered into a Whatsapp group, with its own "leader" who disseminated information from the headquarters in Sofia. And McAdam's leader prepared her carefully for conversations with OneCoin sceptics.
Even Google - 'Don't listen to Google! Prof Eileen Barker of the London School of Economics, who has spent years studying groups like the Moonies and Scientologists, says there are similarities between OneCoin and messianic millennium cults, where people believe they are part of something big that is going to change the world - and no matter what the evidence, once they've signed up, it's very hard for them to admit they are wrong. You think, 'Wait a bit longer. Money might push people to invest in the first place, but the sense of belonging, of doing something, of achieving something, is why they stay, Barker says.
In an ideal world, regulators would take action to protect consumers from scams like OneCoin. But the authorities all over the world have been slow to react, partly because the whole area of cryptocurrencies is relatively new. Less than a year later, the warning was removed from the website.
Game over. The fact that OneCoin was operating internationally also created difficulties for the authorities. Such explanations don't offer much comfort to those affected. She now runs Whatsapp support groups for OneCoin investors who realise they have been swindled. Where's the help? More folk are going to promote this. It's a green light for the OneCoin scammers to continue and extort more money from innocent people in the UK and nothing has been done about it. They don't care!
The City of London Police told the BBC: "There was insufficient evidence to support criminal proceedings against individuals based in the UK, though the force has never specified that there had been no concerns surrounding OneCoin. The force has provided assistance to foreign law enforcement partners in respect of their investigations concerning OneCoin personnel and will continue to do this. If you believe you have been a victim of fraud in relation to OneCoin or you suspect someone of actively marketing OneCoin, please come forward and report it to Action Fraud online.
Until this week, however, the OneCoin head office remained open for business - and people were continuing to promote the currency. Today doors are locked. No lights visible through the windows. In the Ntangamo region of Uganda, not far from Rwandan border, most people make their living growing bananas, or sometimes cassava, sweet potato, beans or groundnut. He already had , shillings in savings, and to raise the rest he returned from the capital, Kampala, to his family home, took three goats raised by his younger brothers, and sold them.
Daniel is one of thousands of Ugandans who've bought into Dr Ruja's fake cryptocurrency - and the OneCoin financial documents leaked to the BBC reveal that as time went on, investors like him became increasingly important to OneCoin. In Europe, less money was invested in the first six months of compared to the same period in But in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, it was the other way round.
As the money started drying up in Europe, promoters turned more and more to countries like Uganda. Daniel took me and Georgia to meet Prudence, who first introduced him to OneCoin. They are still friends, even though both now realise it's a scam. Prudence is a nurse in a Kampala slum, who thought she could make more money selling OneCoin and set about recruiting new investors.
A senior promoter gave her a nice car to impress customers, and instructed her to visit farmers when their crops were being harvested and they had money in their pocket. People in villages trust people from the city, Prudence tells us. To buy the packages some sold their cattle, their land and even their houses - with disastrous consequences. Some are running because they got loans from a bank. Some are hiding. Some are divorced. If anyone asks Prudence when the investment is going to deliver the promised riches, she tells them to wait.
She can't bring herself to tell them the truth. I don't want those people I introduced into OneCoin to see me moving around. They can easily kill me. They thought I ate their money. But though she has stopped recruiting, many others haven't, and there are still plenty of interested buyers, she says. One of the main OneCoin offices in Kampala is attached to a church.
There are videos of the minister, known as Bishop Fred, leading the congregation in call and response. Bishop Fred, we learned, is now one of the country's top promoters of OneCoin, though he says it's no longer promoted during church services. As in other countries, OneCoin has spread here through networks of friends and families. Together with Daniel, Georgia and I travel south to meet his mother.
She lives in a concrete house with a tin roof - five small rooms, a small television and a cooking area. A towel covers the front door, and a few metres away is her land, where she grows her own food and sells anything left over at the local market. But when Daniel found out about OneCoin, it suddenly seemed like a much better alternative.
His mother had doubts, but he persuaded her to put the money into OneCoin instead. She had no computer or smartphone, to do her own research. She doesn't speak English either, so I'm shocked to discover, as we sit and talk, that Daniel has never actually told his mother that the money is lost.
They keep postponing this. That I don't know what they're thinking. Maybe it's just a delay. Daniel's mother then tells us that when she first saw me and Georgia, she assumed it was a good sign - that perhaps it meant that her money was going to arrive at last.
She asks what news we have about OneCoin. Will she get her money back? He doesn't seem certain it's a good idea. Perhaps it would put him in an uncomfortable position. I don't want to be the person that breaks the news to Daniel's mother. Georgia suggests we tell Daniel's mother that we are journalists, and that we are investigating OneCoin because a lot of people aren't getting their money.
If it doesn't happen, life is hard. When we started planning the Missing Cryptoqueen podcast in late , no-one really had a clue what happened to Dr Ruja after her disappearance. It was only earlier this year that the US authorities revealed she'd flown to Athens on 25 October And even then, the question remained, where had she gone next? There were rumours of course - lots of them. It's also been suggested that there are powerful people who might protect her in her native Bulgaria - and that she could hide in plain sight because of plastic surgery that makes her unrecognisable.
I've even heard that she might be in London. Others told us she was dead - which does remain a possibility. This is clearly a question for a professional, which is why Georgia and I went to see private investigator Alan McLean. Finding people is his speciality, and there is one thing above all he says we should focus on. That's the most important thing of all," he says. Find out who her friends were, what her lifestyle was like, her family.
Another tip he gives us is to find out where she has been on her yacht. We should try to get the tracker off it, he says, and he doesn't appear to be joking. I explain that this is probably beyond my abilities apart from being illegal. Then he says I should check what yachts were bought in Athens around the time she arrived there from Sofia. A few weeks after our meeting Alan gets back in touch, with some amazing information.
His colleagues - also private investigators - visited top-end restaurants in Athens armed with photos of Ruja, and in one of them several waiters claimed to clearly remember her dining there earlier this year. When Georgia and I called them ourselves to check, they confirmed it.
So it seems Ruja is still alive, and is able to visit a European capital without fearing arrest. Another lead comes our way when we pay a visit to a bizarre OneCoin beauty pageant in Bucharest. It's as glitzy as you would expect.
Men are drinking champagne from the bottle, everyone is eyeing us in a way that makes us feel very uncomfortable. We soak up the atmosphere, cheer the British contestant, and then leave. But later we hear that we might have been in the presence of Dr Ruja - that she was there, in the same room, right in front of our noses. Except now with plastic surgery, and so harder to spot.
If it's true she was in these countries earlier this year, she probably has a fake identity. Even the most obscure entry or innocuous comment on a forum is usually saved somewhere, and with enough digging can be found. You've heard of Google, but there are several other search engines that specialise in this.
So we start unearthing previous addresses, known friends, old phone numbers, anything that could help us. We already knew that Dr Ruja spent some of her childhood in Schramberg, southern Germany. We had also visited the town of Waltenhofen in Bavaria, not far away, where she and her father bought a steelworks around a decade ago, an episode that led to her being tried for fraud. She received a fine and a suspended sentence in October While in Waltenhofen, we learned that she had a German husband, a lawyer for the well-known firm, Linklaters.
But we were still surprised when, during our internet searches, Frankfurt started appearing over and over again. It wasn't a place we'd previously thought of looking. There were several old addresses in the Frankfurt area - ones she'd posted in forums many years ago, or were associated somehow with old phone numbers of hers.
Then we started looking at some old photos of Ruja, and spotted one friend who appeared with her all the way back to And that friend was visiting the richest neighbourhood in Frankfurt in summer this year. From a tiny fragment of a poster advertising a tennis tournament, an expert identified the park in which one photograph was taken. We also learned that Dr Ruja had a daughter in late , and that she remained very close to her. The daughter, we were informed, might be in Frankfurt.
This is also where Dr Ruja's husband - or perhaps ex-husband - lives and works. Armed with a microphone and several photographs of Dr Ruja, we headed off to Frankfurt and searched old addresses and gated neighbourhoods said to be the most expensive in Germany.
A couple of people looked at the photographs and paused for a long time, raising our hopes - but then said they didn't recognise her. A postman thought he recognised the name, but couldn't be sure. We called the lawyer who is or was married to her, and he didn't want to talk.
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OneCoin claims to be a blockchain -based digital currency system, and is promoted by OneCoin Limited, a company that operates across the globe with offices in Europe, Hong Kong and the UAE. OneCoin was launched by a Bulgarian national named Ruja Ignatova. OneCoin claims to work like any other standard cryptocurrency whose cryptocoins can be generated through the mining process, and can be used to make payments across the globe. It comes with its own e-wallet , and a total of billion coins are available on the OneCoin network.
These courses are about cryptocurrencies, trading, investments, and related matters like financial analysis and asset management. A user is required to pay for these programs. Additionally, participants are encouraged with referral rewards to bring in more participants, a mechanism which fits a MLM scheme.
Your Money. Personal Finance. Scott was found guilty last year on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. If approved by the court, the U. This would include several seaside villas, sports cars, jewelry, watches and a yacht that he purchased with proceeds from OneCoin.
He would also face losing control of the bank accounts that he used to launder OneCoin's funds. Scott faces a prison term of up to 50 years when he's sentenced on Oct. Read the DoJ submission below:. Subscribe to , Subscribe.
Retrieved 25 September Archived from the original on 17 November Retrieved 20 May Retrieved 10 January Retrieved 24 March Retrieved here's why hyped-up web currency. Mr Scott's steve o horse betting had said he did not know that Retrieved 27 April Times crypto currency one coin. Retrieved 5 June Retrieved 25 March The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 May Retrieved 19 the original on 26 April available information. PARAGRAPHPlease update this article to October Published 25 September PARAGRAPH. Archived from the original on 12 February Retrieved 17 February Archived from the original on 31 December Retrieved 30 December Archived from the original on 8 May Retrieved 22 December is virtually worthless". Scalping forex nuzi investments clothing konsolidierung ifrs 10 investment axa investment edge variable annuity forex. open-end and closed-end investment companies forex paper trading account union meet the manufacturers investment downside. Published 14 November Published 14 December Death threats for currency. Retrieved 26 September Archived from investment limited communities trade investment promotion blue ink investments co glassdoor forex magnates london 2021 investments nachhaltiges investment deutschland lied harmonik bandul mathematics of investment others bnp paribas investment partners.OneCoin is a Ponzi scheme promoted as a cryptocurrency by Bulgaria-based offshore companies OneCoin Ltd (registered in Dubai) and OneLife Network Ltd. The stranger was Timothy Curry, a Bitcoin enthusiast and cryptocurrency advocate. He thought OneCoin would give cryptocurrencies a bad name. The OneCoin cryptocurrency was all but imaginary. Exposés of the multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme were also published in several outlets.