Samoa’s central bank has launched an investigation into the OneCoin cryptocurrency investment scheme.
As previously reported by CoinDesk, OneCoin – a pyramidal marketing scheme widely believed to be fraudulent – has been the subject of investigations by multiple countries including India, Finland and Italy – the latter of which fined OneCoin 2.59 million euros for utilizing pyramid scheme tactics in 2017.
Officials in Samoa are investigating whether people in the country have been defrauded, noting that promoters have been targeting would-be investors.
“This is a snare that is used to catch people’s money,” the Central Bank of Samoa’s governor, Maiava Atalina Ainu’u-Enari, told the Samoa Observer last week.
“You invest $1,000 and then in four months, your cash is ten times more, which means you cash in $10,000,” she said, describing OneCoin’s pitch to investors.
Local media reports also indicated that Samoan church ministers may also be implicated in the scheme, though it was not clear in what capacity.
In addition to its investigation, the Central Bank issued a warning to investors emphasizing the risks associated with OneCoin and cryptocurrency investment schemes more generally, and clarified that it has not endorsed any crypto businesses.
“Several cryptocurrency promoters have contacted CBS seeking endorsement for their business and product; however they were not able to satisfy the government’s requirement of providing the relevant information for due diligence purposes,” the statement says.
Ainu’u-Enari said OneCoin is not the only crypto scheme on the government’s radar, and that it is working to inform would-be crypto investors of the risks and potential fraud associated with businesses like it.
“Rome was not built in one days, as the saying goes,” she said. “So we are slowly building our awareness campaigns, awareness programs and internal controls within the financial system.”
Samoa islands image via Shutterstock