More German Prosecutors Join OneCoin Investigations

Regional prosecutors in Germany are investigating a payment processor connected to OneCoin.

AccessTimeIconMay 10, 2017 at 6:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:18 p.m. UTC

Germany's fight against OneCoin, a digital currency investment scheme widely believed to be fraudulent, is heating up.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has published new details about the government’s efforts against OneCoin, reporting that prosecutors from the State Criminal Police Office of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as the city of Bielefeld, have opened new investigations.

As CoinDesk reported in April, BaFin, Germany’s top financial regulator, seized the accounts of IMS International Marketing Services GmbH, which is accused of functioning as a money laundering channel for OneCoin. BaFin later effectively outlawed OneCoin just days later, issuing cease-and-desist letters to companies connected to the scheme and its backers.

What this means: When BaFin seized the accounts of IMS, they took control of roughly €29m. Yet, as the regulator said at the time, they believe as much as €360m changed hands between December 2015 and 2016 – an indication that the scheme found investors during its height.

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the prosecutorial investigations center around seven unnamed people and whether they made false promises about big profits from investing in OneCoin. Investigators also want to know to the extent to which they violated Germany’s payments services statutes – which connects them to what BaFin has done thus far – and may expand the scope beyond those parameters.

Further, as BehindMLM reports, the crackdown is already having an impact, with two events in Germany related to OneCoin being cancelled this week.

The big picture: Europe is quickly becoming an inhospitable environment for OneCoin.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, regulatory or law enforcement bodies in a number of countries are known to be investigating OneCoin. These include Germany, HungaryIndiaItaly and the UK.

Several central banks in Africa have issued warnings in the past, though the extent to which their respective governments are investigating the scheme is unknown at this time.

Investigation image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.