Police in Ostrobothnia, Finland have completed a preliminary investigation into an unnamed person suspected of committing gross tax fraud and gross corruption as a debtor while involved in some capacity with the digital asset OneCoin. They will send their findings to a prosecutor for review.
Criminal Police Commissioner Antti Perälä made the announcement earlier this week while speaking at the Ostrobothnia police station. He explained that the recently concluded investigation focused on allegations of criminal activity issued by the Finnish Tax Administration, adding that the police have also begun exploring the possibility of launching a separate criminal investigation into an organization behind OneCoin’s operations in several European countries. Should such an investigation ultimately take place, he predicted, the geographical breadth of OneCoin’s activities would necessitate the collaboration of agencies based in multiple European nations. The beleaguered firm, One Life Network Ltd., is headquartered in Bulgaria.
OneCoin’s critics have speculated it to be a simple Ponzi scheme, while those claiming to believe in its legitimacy continue to voice their support for the token on various online platforms.
An estimated 20,000 Finns invested in the company, which sold its tokens and information relating to mining in so-called “educational packages” ranging in price from about 100 euros to over 100,000. Investors who recruited others were rewarded with commissions.
OneCoin has also drawn unwanted attention from other European state agencies this year. Hungary’s central bank convened a task force to investigate the company after issuing several warnings that alleged fraudulent activity.
A month after OneCoin shut down its native exchange, xcoinx, with no prior warning, German authorities froze all of the firm’s bank accounts that remained active in the country. They followed up several months later by issuing a cease and desist order against IMS Deutschland GmbH, which acted as the sole payment processor to all German OneCoin investors.
In August 2017, the Italian Competition Authority issued a 2.6 million euro fine to One Life Network for promoting OneCoin, alleging that the company pedaled inaccurate information in order to sell the product and employed a “pyramid sales system.”
In 2016, financial authorities in the UK and Belgium had cautioned the public about investing in OneCoin.