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OneCoin Crackdown: Police Look for Six Promoters in India

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:57 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:57 PM

Indian police have issued a nationwide look-out notice against six alleged promoters of OneCoin, a purported digital currency scheme widely seen as a scam.

According to a report in The Hindu  this weekend, the Central Bureau of Intelligence – India’s primary law enforcement agency – has issued a look-out notice against four Indians, a Mauritian and a Bulgarian who are accused of being involved in OneCoin. The latter two, in particular, are seen as the masterminds of the operation.

The notice has been issued at airports around the country, a move that has previously seen one operator to be detained at the Mumbai International Airport upon re-entry from Hong Kong.

Senior Police Inspector Shivaji Awate added:

Similarly, if any of these six accused either try to fly out or come back to the country, we will be able to nab them.

India’s crackdown on Onecoin began in April when undercover cops attended a weekend OneCoin seminar that saw some 500 participants. The presentation promised significant returns for potential investors on the purchase of a single Onecoin for ₹11,900 (approx. $185). Indian police proceeded to arrest 18 operators, seen as ‘local agents’ luring new investors to the scheme.

A 15-member investigative team at the CBI’s Economics Offence Wing (EOW) were tasked to carry out the investigation into the money-trial which saw seizures of nearly ₹25 crores (approx. $3.8 million) from multiple bank accounts.

These bank accounts, the investigation revealed, belonged to a company named ‘Premium Payment Solution’. An Indian national – already under arrest – was installed as the director of the company due to Indian regulations that enforce foreign investors to require an Indian director for a company based in the country.

The investigation has, thus far, seen 22 arrests of individuals allegedly involved in OneCoin in the country. The initial undercover operation arrested 18, followed by four in May. After two arrests last month initially, one of whom was caught at Mumbai airport, Indian police arrested two more with seizures of luxury cars worth ₹90 lakhs (approx. $140,000).

The arrests and seizures of property and cash are a part of a significant crackdown by Indian authorities. Last year, financial regulators from Belgium, Uganda and the United Kingdom issued public warnings against participation in Onecoin.

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