The Specialized Prosecutor’s Office of Bulgaria has revealed its involvement in a sweeping international operation looking at ‘neutralizing’ OneCoin, a purported digital currency scheme widely seen as a fraud.
In details published on Friday, Bulgarian authorities have pointed to an ongoing international investigation with assistance from German counterparts and representatives from Europol and Eurojust into a Bulgarian company associated with OneCoin. Two Bulgarian women with German citizenships are also under the scanner. In the two days prior to the announcement, the prosecutor’s office said that the offices of the company in question, as well as 14 others, were searched. Material evidence, including servers were seized by authorities alongside the questioning of 50 witnesses.
The court order and the subsequent raid, the prosecutor’s office said, is part of:
“[A]n international operation to neutralize a large-scale pyramid structure for commercial fraud, progressive recruitment and money laundering by creating and distributing the virtual currency OneCoin.’
The investigation joins a number of others being undertaken by financial authorities and law enforcement agencies against OneCoin around the world. “It is clear that this is a Ponzi scheme,” said police in India where the operation has raked in over $12 million from investing victims. Indian authorities are also on the lookout for senior OneCoin promoters, including its founder and mastermind Rjua Ignatova – a Bulgarian national.
Elsewhere, Finnish police concluded their own investigation into a OneCoin promoter wherein a top police official called for a wider criminal investigation involving law enforcement agencies across multiple countries.
“If there is a criminal investigation into OneCoin, it will be bigger and will involve several countries, in my opinion,” said Finnish top cop Antti Perälä in October.
While it hasn’t been conclusively proven as a coordinated operation, the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office added:
At present, companies associated with OneCoin Ltd. are being investigated in England, Ireland, Italy, the United States, Canada, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and many other countries.
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