Germany is stepping up its ongoing crackdown on OneCoin, a digital currency investment scheme widely believed to be fraudulent.
The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has issued new cease-and-desist orders to two holding companies connected to OneCoin - Onecoin Ltd, Dubai and OneLife Network Ltd - ordering them to "dismantle their internet based 'OneCoins' trading system" and to "end all sales promotion activities" in Germany effective immediately.
OneCoin is an investment scheme centered around a purported digital currency, for which packages of "tokens" are sold that can later be exchanged. The operation has long been accused of operating a pyramid scheme, as participants are encouraged by advocates to find other buyers.
Notably, the regulator suggested that OneCoin promoters in Germany hadn't sought permission prior to conducting their activities, a determination that BaFin said spurred the latest cease-and-desist notices.
BaFin said it had issued a cease-and-desist notice to a third entity connected to OneCoin, One Network Services, for supporting the unauthorized sale of OneCoin in Germany.
The move indicates that Germany is accelerating its efforts to keep OneCoin out of the country. It comes just over a week after BaFin moved to halt the operations of a OneCoin-tied payment processor in Germany, freezing €29m in connected bank accounts.
But Germany isn't the only country to crack down on OneCoin. Reports surfaced this week that authorities in India had arrested at least 18 individuals connected to the scheme.
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