OneCoin Italian ban & fine suspended, AGCM investigation continues
Following an ongoing investigation into OneCoin by the Antitrust and Consumer Protection Authority, promotion of OneCoin across Italy was banned in late 2016.
OneCoin’s response to the injunction saw the company claim one OneCoin shell company was not related to another, despite being owned and operated in tandem by the same people.
The AGCM concluded their investigation into OneCoin in mid 2017.
The regulator formally banned OneCoin, declared it a “deceitful Ponzi scheme” and issued a 2.5 million EUR fine.
Once again OneCoin tried to get out of it by again asserting its use of shell companies protected it from regulation.
While OneCoin’s public response to the Ponzi ban was laughable, the company did file an appeal to preserve its perceived right to scam Italians.
OneCoin’s appeal has been playing out since mid 2017, with a decision finally reached a few weeks ago.
At a February 15th hearing, the AGCM argued that the injunction was necessary to protect consumers as it continued “in-depth analysis” of OneCoin as part of its investigation.
An order published by the Regional Administrative Court (Sixth Section) on February 19th, has suspended the previous injunction (both the ban and fine), pending further investigation by AGCM.
The stated reason for suspending the fine is that non-payment at this time will not cause “significant damage” to Italian tax authorities.
Presumably the matter will be revisited at a later date as AGCM continue to investigate.
Unfortunately the court’s decision will ultimately likely result in greater losses for Italian consumers.
A consequence AGCM’s investigators and legal team will no doubt find frustrating.
At the time of publication Alexa estimate Italy makes up around 5% of traffic to the OneCoin website.
Eager to capitalize on anything that detracts from its legal problems in Germany and Ruja Ignatova’s disappearance for ten months, OneCoin announced ‘dedicated teams are currently working to ensure the smooth flow of all technical operations‘ in Italy.
Over most of 2017 and continuing into 2018, most of OneCoin’s top investors left after the money dried up.
In the wake of Ignatova’s unexplained disappearance, her former bodyguard and brother Konstantin Ignatov has emerged as the new public face of the company.
As I understand it OneCoin’s business operations globally have all but ground to a halt. Most of the money invested into the company is believed to have primarily benefited Ignatova and her family.
Other than a few desperate OneCoin investors hoping against hope the Ponzi points they’ve invested in will amount to anything, there’s pretty much nothing left.
Update 4th April 2018 – The Consumer’s Center for South Tyrol (Vzs) are claiming the Regional Court decision applies only to the 2.5 million EUR fine.
The consumer protection agency insists OneCoin is still banned in Italy for being an illegal pyramid scheme.