Reports are emerging that authorities in India are undertaking a broad crackdown on OneCoin, a digital currency investment scheme widely believed to be fraudulent.
Outlets such as Times of India, The Hindu and Hindustan Times report that as many as 18 individuals have been arrested in connection with OneCoin events in the country. The arrests took place on Sunday, according to the outlets.
Police are also said to have confiscated funds from bank accounts associated with the individuals – believed to have been collected from would-be investors – totaling more than $2m. An official told The Hindu that authorities believe that additional accounts may exist, but due to the fact that those accounts weren't explicitly connected to OneCoin companies, tracing them could prove difficult.
According to the reports, the arrests and subsequent account seizures came after Indian police went undercover during a recent OneCoin event. Attendees were allegedly promised big gains – a common refrain among OneCoin supporters – at the end of next year.
The news represents what is perhaps the most significant crackdown on OneCoin – accused of operating a Ponzi scheme under the guise of a digital currency investment program – to date.
Earlier this month, BaFin, Germany's top finance regulator, shut down a Germany-based payment processor that was collecting payments on behalf of OneCoin. BaFin also seized €29m from accounts tied to the processor.
Central banks in areas believed to have been targeted by OneCoin promoters, such as Nigeria and Uganda, have issued warnings in recent months. Police in the City of London are also investigating the scheme, as previously reported.
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