OneCoin scammers used NZ and AU to circumvent Samoan ban
After Samoan authorities banned OneCoin transactions in mid 2018, local promoters began laundering funds through New Zealand.
This caught the attention of New Zealand authorities, who detailed the operation in a 124 page intelligence report.
The report was submitted by the New Zealand Financial Intelligence Unit to the Central Bank of Samoa.
According to the report, OneCoin scammers in Samoa
circumvented Samoa’s financial system … and opted to use the NZ Financial System to conduct their businesses and transfers.
Authorities estimate that around $3 million NZD has been laundered in and out of New Zealand ($1.9 million USD).
The report also reveals OneCoin was promoted in Samoa by shameless church leaders.
There are two large churches that were used in OneCoin operations.
These two Churches, although originated in Samoa, have branches in New Zealand and Australia, thereby affecting the Pasefika community.
This is why NZFIU have formulated the view that public education on the issue would be futile because the Church Ministers are the promoters, and they are held out to be trustworthy, hence, people of the congregation will follow suit.
The two churches OneCoin was promoted through are the Samoan Seventh Day Adventist Church and Worship Center Christian Church.
The NZFIU’s report identifies several Samoans, who the Central Bank of Samoa states are
currently under scrutiny and potential investigation.
The offence of money laundering is now a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, or a maximum fine of $1 million tala, or a combination of both.
Financial service providers have also been named, however it seems the bank is less likely to take action against them.
we will be monitoring them closely and considering whether further action may be taken in light of the detailed report by NZFIU, which is a confirmation of the information that we already possess.
No word on whether individuals who helped church leaders scam people through OneCoin in AU or NZ will face action.
Given the virtually non-existent regulation of Ponzi schemes in Australia and New Zealand though, I’d guess no.
Update 17th February 2021 – Charities Service’s investigation into the Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church has confirmed OneCoin related fraud.
SISDAC has consequently been struck off New Zealand’s Charities Register.