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Two men charged in Singapore with promoting 'fraudulent cryptocurrency' OneCoin

IN the first case of its kind in Singapore, two men were charged in court on April 10 with promoting a fraudulent cryptocurrency, OneCoin, using a multi-level marketing scheme.

This follows investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a press statement on Wednesday. 

Of the two men, one was also charged with incorporating a company, One Concept Pte Ltd, to promote the multi-level marketing scheme.

According to SPF, local residents participated in the scheme by buying online educational courses bundled with promotional tokens.

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"The promotional tokens could be used to 'mine' for OneCoins. Participants who brought in new participants were also entitled to overriding commissions in contravention of the Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act," SPF said. 

OneCoin was founded by Ruja Ignatova in Bulgaria in 2014. The United States has termed OneCoin a fraudulent cryptocurrency, and have charged persons in connection with a multibillion dollar scam. Similarly, several countries including New Zealand, have issued warnings to members of the public against the cryptocurrency. 

Konstantin Ignatov, brother of Ruja, was on arrested on March 6, 2019, at the Los Angeles International Airport and charged with wire fraud conspiracy. Ms Ignatov, whose whereabouts are unknown, has been charged in absentia for wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has listed OneCoin and One Concept Pte Ltd on the Investor Alert List. This information is available on the MAS website at http://www.mas.gov.sg/IAL.aspx.

Members of the public are advised not to participate in, or promote any multi-level marketing scheme involving OneCoin or One Concept Pte Ltd, SPF added. 

Promoters of the scheme involving OneCoin may be subjected to prosecution under the Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act, with each charge carrying a maximum imprisonment term of five years, and/or a maximum fine of S$200,000.