Chinese Prosecutors Charge Final Suspects In $2.3 Bln OneCoin Investigation

The last four suspects in a two year case against alleged pyramid scheme OneCoin have been prosecuted in China’s Hunan Province, government-supported local news source the Justice Network reports Wednesday, May 23.

The Zhuzhou Country Procuratorate of the Hunan Province examined 106 people, publicly prosecuted 98, and recovered around 1.7 bln yuan (around $266 mln) from over 20 provinces across China in the course of the case. Those prosecuted have received up to 10,000  – 5 mln yuan in fines (about $1,500 – $782,000) as well as four years or less of prison time.

In 2016, Chinese authorities had already seized over $30 mln dollars during their investigation of the alleged pyramid scheme.

The Justice Network reports that OneCoin organization – “Weika Coin” in China – whose server is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, worked by “constantly induc[ing] new investors to realize imaginary high profits” by “deceptively advocating” the coins’ worth and “tempting others to invest huge sums of money into its established website.”

The pyramid scheme, or MLM organization, reportedly had 27 fund pool accounts, more than 140 member levels of varying costs, and a total of over 2 mln registered users located in China. In total, the funds involved in the scheme are more than 15 bln yuan (around $2.3 bln), according to the Justice Network.

Last fall, Italy imposed a €2.5 mln fine on OneCoin after the Italian Antitrust and Consumer Protection Authority (AGCM) branded the organization a pyramid or ponzi scheme.

More recently, in January of this year representatives of the Bulgarian law enforcement as well as European Union crime fighting units raided OneCoin’s office in Bulgaria at the behest of a German prosecutors office. While documents and servers were seized from the offices and 50 witnesses questioned, no arrests were made at the time.

Back in 2015, Cointelegraph warned readers to stay away from OneCoin, referring to it as likely to be a scam.