Indian law enforcement is continuing its investigation in an ongoing crackdown on OneCoin, a purported digital currency scheme commonly seen as a pyramid scam.
According to reports from two national newspapers, Indian police in the city of Mumbai are holding custody of 18 individuals arrested during an undercover operation looking into a OneCoin promotional seminar last week.
According to the Times of India, obtaining custody of the 18 promoters was an important step in the wider investigation into the money trail which has, so far, seen authorities freeze over ₹19 crores (approx. $3 million) in bank accounts.
In India, OneCoin investors were reportedly provided with passwords to check their profiles on OneCoin’s website following ‘investment’ payments. These payments were made toward the purchase of tokens, redeemable for OneCoin(s). Investors were also told that the value of the coins would fluctuate alongside the Euro.
The 18 individuals were produced in court on Friday before being remanded to local police. The case is seeing participation from a new investigate team from the Economic Offence Wing (EOW), an extension of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the nation’s primary intelligence and law enforcement agency. According to the Hindu, the special team will comprise of four officers and 10 personnel. “I have been asked to form the team and will be picking those with experience in such cases,” stated a senior police inspector at EOW.
As it stands, police custody of the 18 individuals ends today.
In quotes reported by the Hindu, an Indian Crime Branch official stated:
We need police custody for investigating the case and to get all details of the scam. We have got custody of the accused till May 3.
Last week, authorities pointed five ‘masterminds’ who are believed to operating the scheme in India, who are currently at large. Indian airport authorities have been informed to detain the accused five from fleeing the country.
The recent arrests and comprehensive seizures followed by an ongoing investigation by Indian authorities of OneCoin operations is perhaps the most comprehensive crackdown by a government against the scheme. In 2016, a number of state authorities including those from Belgium, Uganda and the United Kingdom issued public warnings against the use of OneCoin.
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