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2 charged in unprecedented multi-level marketing case involving cryptocurrency

2 charged in unprecedented multi-level marketing case involving cryptocurrency

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Two men were charged in court on Wednesday (Apr 10) for promoting a multi-level marketing scheme involving purported cryptocurrency OneCoin.

One of them was also charged for incorporating a company called One Concept Pte Ltd to promote the scheme, police said in a news release.

Investigations were conducted by the Commercial Affairs Department, in a case described by police as the first of its kind.

Singapore residents had participated in the scheme by buying online educational courses bundled with promotional tokens.

The promotional tokens could be used to "mine" for OneCoins, which has several features that are similar to Bitcoin, police said. Those who brought in new participants were also entitled to overriding commissions.

This was in contravention of the Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act, police said.


OneCoin and One Concept Pte Ltd is on the Monetary Authority of Singapore's Investor Alert List.

Last month, US authorities termed OneCoin a fraudulent cryptocurrency and announced criminal charges against the alleged leaders of OneCoin, including founder, Bulgarian Konstantin Ignatov and his older sister Ruja Ignatov.

They were accused of swindling investors coveting big returns and low risk, in a scheme conceived as a fraud. 

According to US court documents, the defendants misled investors into believing OneCoin's value was determined by supply and demand, when it was actually determined internally, and that OneCoins were "mined" using company servers.

Singapore police advised members of the public not to participate in or promote any multi-level marketing scheme involving OneCoin or One Concept Pte Ltd.

Promoters of the scheme involving OneCoin may be prosecuted under the Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act. 

Each charge carries a maximum jail term of five years and a maximum fine of S$200,000.

Source: CNA/mn(gs)


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