Finnish police have completed a preliminary investigation into OneCoin, a purported digital currency scheme commonly seen as fraud.
As reported by CCN in August, Finnish police in the region of Ostrobothnia launched an investigation into OneCoin activity in the country following a number of complaints from private individuals and tax authorities. This week, a report from regional publication Yle has confirmed that the investigation has concluded its preliminary stage with a suspected OneCoin promoter under the scanner.
Criminal police commissioner Antti Perälä from Österbotten's police station said:
We have two suspects in an economic crime case, one of whom has been dealing with Onecoin…The damages [from OneCoin] is over half a million euros.
According to one report, as many as 20,000 Finns have invested ‘tens of millions of euros’ into the local OneCoin operation. OneCoin’s local operations in Finland are said to be managed from Bulgaria, with noteworthy sums of money paid into the firm’s Finnish bank account for ‘training packages’ compromising of “tokens”. These paid-for tokens are then redeemable for OneCoins through its website. Training packages cost anywhere from just over 100 euros to tens of thousands of euros.
The two suspects are likely to be charged for gross tax fraud and gross corruption & and gross money laundering and gross corruption respectively. The investigation will now see its findings forwarded to the prosecutor for trial review.
Finland was among the earliest countries to investigate OneCoin, as early as April 2015. At the time, the country’s national police (National Bureau of Investigation) began looking into OneCoin activity following multiple complaints from concerned citizens. The investigation stalled after authorities were unable to determine if OneCoin had an actual cryptocurrency, with no charges filed.
Finland’s ongoing investigation, separate from the one in 2015, joins a growing list of authorities engaging in a wider crackdown into the digital currency scheme. Police in India arrested and charged up to 30 promoters of the scheme locally in recent months. An Indian police official even labelled OneCoin a ‘ponzi’, stating:
In this sort of scheme, investors become the perpetrators as well as victims. It is clear that this is a Ponzi scheme.
Finnish top cop Antti Perälä sees reason for a wider criminal investigation into OneCoin, one involving a joint law enforcement across multiple countries.
If there is a criminal investigation into OneCoin, it will be bigger and will involve several countries, in my opnion.
Featured image from Shutterstock.