Police in Finland have launched an investigation into OneCoin, a digital currency scheme widely considered to be fraudulent.
Local reports indicate that Finnish authorities are currently looking into the firm, with Antti Perälä, an official leading the investigation, stating that criminal reports against the operation are being filed by both private individuals and tax authorities.
The scheme – through which individuals are sold investment “token” packages which can then be redeemed for OneCoins in an online platform – has been on Finland’s radar since 2015. One report indicated that as many as 20,000 citizens had invested “tens of millions of euros” in the scheme, per conservative estimates.
The case is ultimately expected to reach the prosecutorial level, suggesting that Finland’s government may pursue court action against promoters in the country, as well as others involved with the scheme.
It’s a strategy that mirrors one taking place in India, where police and national prosecutors have been building a case against OneCoin promotors. A number of individuals have been arrested in recent months in connection with that investigation.
And, in Italy, promoters of the scheme were fined almost €2.6 million in mid-August, after it was ruled that OneCoin was operating a pyramid scheme.
The Italian Antitrust Authority said at the time: “OneCoin’s dissemination took place through a pyramid sales system as recruitment of new consumers was the sole purpose of sales activity and was strongly encouraged by the recognition of various bonuses, the only real and effective remuneration of the program.”
Authorities in Germany, Italy and Vietnam, among others, have also moved to investigate or crack down on OneCoin since the start of the year.