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Friday, 19 January 2018

OneCoin's HQ raided by authorities – a lot of evidence seized

The Prosecutor's Office of the Rebublic of Bulgaria released news today headlined:
"The Specialized Prosecutor's Office participates in neutralizing an international money laundering group through the virtual currency".


OneCoin's headquarters in Sofia


According to the Prosecutor's Office the raid was part of their involvement in an international operation to neutralize a large-scale pyramid structure for commercial fraud, progressive customer recruitment and money laundering by creating and distributing the virtual currency OneCoin.

In addition to the headquarters of OneCoin also offices of 14 other companies involved in the scam have been raided. The raids happened on 17 and 18 January 2017 in the presence of representatives of Europol and the German investigative bodies. The raids led to a lot of material evidence having been seized, including servers and also 50 witnesses have been questioned.

No wonder that OneCoin's fake blockchain (viewable in user accounts) has been stalled for two days now:

 I guess Ruja's laptop that was running the database was seized as well. Good bye coins!

No one has been arrested for now. Presumably during the raids there was no one around responsible for the crimes committed. The people interrogated were most likely staff that OneCoin had hired to run its business, websites and organize events. Ruja Ignatova hasn't been seen for a long time. That been said, the raiders were longing to interrogate "two Bulgarian women with German citizenship". Those women are presumably Ruja Ignatova and her mother Veska Ignatova.



OneCoin is an international criminal organization


The authorities are labeling OneCoin as an international criminal organization, so anyone defending the scheme claiming that the company hasn't done anything illegal can shut their pieholes.

Quoting the Prosecutor's Office:
"Investigators identify the location of the servers in Sofia and the service companies used by the international criminal organization."
"According to the prosecutor's office, besides Dubai's OneCoin Ltd. the network operates through hundreds of affiliated companies on 4 continents."

Finally some international co-operation in Europe against scams! Hopefully this is a start of more efficient co-operating agains ponzi-pyramid schemes in Europe. So far scams have been operating quite freely, and crossing borders has provided almost a secure way to spread scams from nation to nation.


The news about the raid have been covered also in the following media:
Bulgarian Capital
Sofia Globe

Original news release by the Prosecutor's Office of the Rebublic of Bulgaria.


Ignatova accused being a member of an organized crime group in Germany


According to the Chief of Prosecutor's office of Bulgaria, Ivan Geshev, Ruja Ignatova is accused in Germany for being a member of an organized crime group involved in financial fraud.

Source: 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

OneCoin's ICO ain't happening

It seems that the website published for the launch of OneCoin's ICO has been abandoned soon after getting it online.

This screenshot was taken January 18 2018. Click to enlarge.

According to the roadmap on the website the start of first round of coin offering was supposed to already happen in October 25 2017. The start of second round of coin offering was meant to happen yesterday but even the animated chart has not reached the date yet, and of course nothing has happened. There's no way to participate this "public coin offering" despite the FAQ of the website instructs as follows:

– Nope, not possible.

Initially the coin offering was supposed to be carried out by Golden Gate Investments Ltd allegedly registered in Dubai. Not long after publishing the website SILO Capital Group Ltd was introduced to carry out the project instead of GGI Ltd, whose involvement would then be only "limited, supervising the communication activities of the Coin Offering."



Neither of those companies can be found on Dubai's public company registry.

As a conclusion I repeat that the website onecoinico.io seems to be abandoned soon after publishing it. Not even the terms of conditions have been updated to suit the change of company responsible for the coin offering.

Igor Alberts giving his statement about resigning OneCoin



Igor Alberts was allegedly the top earner of OneCoin/OneLife before leaving the company at the turn of the year. Alberts joined immediately to another scheme called DagCoin and started promoting it spicing things up with comparing OneCoin/OneLife to Titanic.



Igor Alberts: 
"The higher we get, actually, the closer you get to the top, and the responsibility comes to you – it's growing."
– I don't know what responsibility has to do with pocketing shitloads of money from his downline and leaving the company at the verge of final collapse.

"I'm not a tech guy, I'm a believer. But at a certain moment whatever belief you have, you must not be ignorant. And we get heavy questions, and we had no clue what to answer.
 
But you know, we believed... Aaand that changed unfortunately since the event in Lisbon where the captain of our ship didn't appear. It was meant to be... we had high belief to Dr. Ruja Ignatova, and I don't know, the real truth, I really have no clue what has happened to her."

Then Alberts goes on explaining how he tried to get answers from the company but couldn't get any, nor was he able to find someone responsible now that Ruja Ignatova was gone.

He also wonders what happened to Edward Ludbrook, who was the Chief Leadership Officer of OneCoin. "We don't even know if he resigned or he get fired."

Alberts brings up also the exit of OneCoin's short-term CEO, Pierre Arens. According to Pierre Arens himself, he decided to left the company because of "a lack of leeway as a leader". Apparently Alberts was told that Arens had a heart attack and left the company because health issues. 

As a side note, it's funny that nobody seems to remember Pablo Munoz anymore. He just disappeared from the position of OneLife's CEO without a trace soon after being introduced to the ponzi victims.



Igor Alberts confirms that OneCoin leaders bought a blockchain in 2016 



"Some of our other uplines told us: Yeah, you know what we did, don't worry, we built a blockchain already a year ago."
– This also goes along with the known case of failed attempt to hire a blockchain specialist from Norway, Bjorn Bjercke. Finally DXmarkets was a company the ponzi managed to have a relationship with and a white paper was delivered in May 2017. However, I don't think that went quite as it was planned, because the whole thing was just an awkward mess.


Alberts continues:  
"Now we were shocked! When we hear from our upline leaders that they built the blockchain. Why should they build, because we have a blockchain? They said: but for the case that ... (there wasn't any)"
– And so it appears that there hasn't been much management in the scam for a long time but mismanagement to spread rumours and confusion in the network. Even the top scammers haven't received information about what was going on.



DagUnUniversity



The rest of the video is mostly about Igor promoting DagCoin scam, which is pretty much like OneCoin but in different wrappers. Again we have education packages full of ponzi and a pyramid scheme to go along with it. Oh, and there are a lot of familiar faces from OneCoin too!

Igor Alberts let's us know that it was his friend Kari Wahlroos who persuaded him to join DagCoin. However, this time he is doing his due diligence: 
"I pulled up every possible technical question that I could come up with. And you know what, I get all the answers."


– Well, this all comes from a man who just a while ago said he's not a tech guy, and who still doesn't know how to say "directed acyclic graph". 


I must say that I'm amazed how these so called leaders are so incapable of spotting obvious scams while they are heavily involved in one and busy pocketing money. – Now, the question is, would you take business advices from them?


Source: Statement of Igor Alberts on Facebook.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Polish authorities tighten their grip on scammers

A recent article published 20th December 2017 on Gazeta Prawna let's us know that Polish authorities want to tighten their grip on scammers. As the article puts it: 
"The UOKiK's message is unambiguous: the permission to cheat hundreds of thousands of Poles has ended. Officials warn and want to convict cheaters."
– UOKiK is the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in Poland.

The decision of UOKiK might have based at least partly, if not largely, on case Recyclix. Recyclix was based in Poland and apparently had also many Polish victims.

What comes to pyramid scams in general, Polish officials apparently have had quite loose attitude towards pyramid scams before.


Gazeta Prawna:  
"Almost all experts say clearly: the reaction of the state authorities is late. But better now than not at all. For although the last two years have been the resurgence of pyramidal structures resembling Amber Gold, the state organs are still operating slowly."

In fact international scams are quite free to operate throughout the Europe, so this is not a problem that only Poland is struggling with. The internet makes it very easy for pyramid scams to spread and operate without respecting any laws. 

For instance, the Finnish NBI was supposed to evaluate the legitimacy of OneCoin by the end of 2016 when the coin was meant to go public. That of course never happened, because the coin never went public. So OneCoin got off the hook just because the NBI didn't attach the hook with a knot to the line. (Later there was a separate criminal investigation launched by the Finnish Police, but it might still take some time to get some information about the case in public.)



UOKiK warns about ongoing scams


The article by Gazeta Prawna mentions two ongoing scams that UOKiK wants to warn consumers about, DasCoin and Lyoness. DasCoin is referred as a cryptocurrency that does not exist. Lyoness on the other hand is described having pyramid scam features. 

OneCoin was not mentioned in the article, but then again UOKiK had already published a warning about OneLife (OneCoin) in September 2017. OneCoin has been crumbling since the late 2016, so the scam growth in Poland probably has been in a stagnant state for quite some time.



The case Recyclix


After UOKiK had investigated Recyclix and found it to be a scam, the president of UOKiK obliged Recyclix to give investors all the money back they had invested.

However, a Polish attorney Dominik Jędrzejko interviewed in the article says:
"It is good that the decision has been issued, but it is rather symbolic. There is no doubt that the company will not refund money to consumers, if it got into financial trouble much earlier."
From what I have studied the aftermath of Recyclix, it seems likely the attorney is sadly right. On the contrary, it seemed that scammers were even trying to milk more money from their victims. This is copied from a Facebook group titled "Recyclix Support":

... 
But since the company is not running, there is no payment source for us for our hard work and for this reason, we charge users with fees before we validate their refund request 
# We can't deduce those fees because all your investments and profit are by the owners of the financial accoutns and for them, deducing any amount from the total refund is considered as an illegal activity 
# We have no guarantee that users who will receive their refund are going to pay us the required fees later. This is why we charge them with fees before we validate their refund request 
# Our activities are legal and everything is explained in the T&Cs that was signed by the juridical courte of Poland 
...  

– By the sound of that I bet it was a Nigerian Prince sorting things out there. 

Recyclix scam preparing relaunch as Replastics?

Recyclix was a scam company who claimed returning sizeable profits from recycling plastic waste. The company was luring people to invest money through "crowd funding", which was actually just a pyramid scheme to rapidly grow the number of investors.

As many of the scams nowadays, Recyclix was a combination of a ponzi and a pyramid scam. The ponzi part of the scam was the mere fact that the company wasn't even doing any plastic recycling. According to Polish media Recyclix didn't even own any recycling plants

Albeit the company had no recycling business going on, it managed to fool a large number of victims all over the world to invest to the ponzi via a pyramid scheme. 

To fool its investors Recyclix went as far as participating recycling related fairs having its booth quite regularly appearing among real recycling companies. In fact this was a genius way to increase the credibility of this scam in a low cost way. 


The scam participating a fair.


Occasionally Recyclix also organised tours to some Polish recycling plants, which of course were presented like they were owned by the company. Videos of those tours were used to convince people about the legitimacy of the scheme. You can still find some on YouTube.


Recyclix organised tours to some scrappy looking Polish recycling plants to show the members that the piles of garbage were real. Here's a link to the actual video.


Replastics?




Recyclix scam collapsed in the early 2017. I'm not going in to details here – you can find plenty of them from this blog though. 

While snooping the crumbled remains of the pyramid, I noticed that the original website of the scam (recyclix.com) has been just recently altered to present a new company with "Replastics" logo on the top left corner. In addition to the URL word Recyclix can still be found on the website as "Recyclix sp. z o.o." is mentioned. This was the original scam company registered in Poland. Nevertheless, there might be no actual connection to the old company anymore as the scam team apparently dissolved.

There seem to be no operational scam going on... yet. However, considering that the very website was used to run the ponzi pyramid scam, I wouldn't trust anything presented there. It might be part of preparation for a relaunch of Recyclix as Replastics. Of course it's also possible to squeeze some more money from the old victims. 


Screenshot taken 11 January 2018 from recyclix.com website.

Friday, 5 January 2018

OneCoin - DealShaker's New Year's Flush!




2017 was supposed to be "the year of merchants" according to OneCoin/OneLife. Instead it has been the year of collapse and decomposition for the ponzi-pyramid with several top scammers leaving the sinking ship.

At the London event in June 2016 Ruja Ignatova presented her goal and vision: "1 million merchants and 10 million members in two years". During the same event comically pompous Ignatova also presented OneCoin's new slogan, "The Bitcoin Killer". Let's see what's the situation now, about one and a half year later.



Remember the vision?



The goal set at the London event June 2016.

At the moment the counters of DealShaker show about 55.000 registered merchants and a bit above 300.000 individuals who have ever logged in to the website. These figures are very small-scale considering that the company itself claims to have well over 3 million members.


This screenshot was taken 4 January 2018.

One can of course argue what's the credibility of a counter set by a notorious scam. Nevertheless, the counter on OneLife's website falls back from 10 million members quite a bit showing 3.3 million members at the moment.


Personally I would presume the scam having hundreds of thousands of members instead of millions. I base my estimation on following web traffic statistics available on Alexa.com and Similarweb.com, OneCoin's popularity on GoogleTrends compared to other search terms and scams. Also the amount of OneCoin's Facebook likes and general member activity online are modest for such a cult like movement of "millions of members". 


This screenshot was taken 4 January 2018.




DealShaker's New Year's Flush





At the very turn of the year almost 4.000 deals expired from DealShaker in an instance. All in all there was about 12.000 deals before that, so this means that about one third of the deals disappeared from the platform. Nope, this wasn't a huge success as a Christmas discount sales, but thousands of shitty deals just expiring. 

The graph below shows the amount of deals available throughout the year 2017 and also the deep fall of the available deals at the turn of the year.


The graph shows that the number of available deals is now about the same as it was in March 2017.

It's also worth noticing that from the registered 55.000 merchants only about 8.000 (15 %) have deals on the platform. The actual number of merchants having deals on the platform is even smaller, because there are a lot of merchants having several active deals. 


What comes to OneCoin's member base, during the first year of DealShaker only about 300.000 members bothered to log in to the website. This is rather strange considering that the company itself claims that there are "millions" of enthusiastic onecoiners out there. Even I myself have logged in to the platform a couple of times to check it out.

The failure of the platform didn't come as a surprise to anyone outside the cult. However, it's still used as a marketing tool for OneCoin despite DealShaker being an awful mess and merely pointing out the actual situation of the scam.



The growth of the DealShaker doesn't go along with the amount of deals


Despite the amount of deals has been fluctuating quite a bit and finally dropping with staggering 4.000, there has been a continuous and linear growth of merchants and logged-in-members throughout the existence of DealShaker.

According to the graphs below one should expect that the number of deals should have rising in a similar way. Instead there has been a very low participance from the merchant side with only a small minority of them actually making deals.


Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.




PS. Thanks to the contributor who helped with this article with the graphs, details and figures about DealShaker and the follow-up of the platform!

Friday, 29 December 2017

Wahlroos claims Ignatova disappeared 9th October 2017

I guess this is now the biggest opportunity of a lifetime. (– Nope, they aren't that transparent. I confess that I Photoshopped the picture a bit.)


After getting kicked out from OneCoin scam, Kari Wahlroos swiftly moved on to another disreputable MLM based cryptocurrency scheme called DagCoin. Despite just recently boasting about OneCoin being the opportunity of a lifetime, now Wahlroos states that OneCoin is "history".

The Facebook page of Wahlroos has his dismayed fans questioning him about the recent happenings. Let's have a look at some of the comments:



Kari Wahlroos has left the scam – with or without you.


Yeah, that must be really assuring to the victims of OneCoin.


Like this concerned OneCoin member addresses, Kari Wahlroos is now promoting DagCoin with identical sales pitches to the ones he used to promote OneCoin.

Wahlroos about DagCoin: 
"The best of the best ! Superior technology together with the perfect strategy !! This will happen - with or without you !" 
"This will be the biggest momemtum youve ever seen!! It is Now time to accept What is happening and Enjoy the ride! This will happen With or Without you!"

"Join the biggest launch ever happened in the Industry !" 
"Everyone...
I am no longer with OLN (OneLife Network)
And now I am on the mission to launch the worlds biggest network marketing and cryptocurrency company...
Therefore, the answers on All questions that you have - ask directly to OneLife company and/or your sponsor."


OneCoin closed Wahlroos's account with 50 million onecoins


According to Wahlroos his OneLife/OneCoin account with 50 million coins has been closed. Calculating the value in euros using the current artificial coin value dictated by the company, that's about 1 billion euros Wahlroos lost. He sure is taking this gigantic loss lightly.

One would suspect that Wahlroos would sue the company for this kind of unfair treatment, especially after: "feeling confident that what I have done has always been in accordance with the company guidelines provided to me."

Mostly he's concerned about the 2 million euros worth of investment he claims to have made to the company. However, I'm pretty sure he got paid very well from touring all over the world as an Ambassador and preaching about OneCoin – well enough to forget the actual value (= 0 €) of those 50 million coins.




Ignatova disappeared 9th October 2017


Wahlroos states on his Facebook comments that Ignatova disappeared 9th October 2017. As there is such a precise date for the incident, I would presume that Wahlroos or someone else had tried to contact her from thereafter without any success.




As far as known Ignatova hasn't made any OneCoin related public appearances since July 2017.


According to Wahlroos there was no communication for three months. Yet he had no problems promoting the scam until been sacked from the position of OneLife Scambassador.

Comments made about a week ago on Wahlroos's Facebook page.


Update 30 December:


Well, I believe this comment by Kari Wahlroos says it all:



Update 31 December - The Mighty Eagle


I think there's a valuable lesson in this video clip:



Happy New Year All!