OneCoin still banned in Italy, claims Italian Consumer Center
Last month we reported on the lift of a ban that prevented OneCoin from operating in Italy.
That article was based on a 19th February published decision, which suggested that both the suspension and 2.5 million EUR issued fine had been rejected by the Regional Administrative Court (Sixth Section).
In an April 4th article titled, “OneCoin allowed again – hardly!”, the Consumer’s Center for South Tyrol (Vzs) now claims only the fine was suspended.
Vzs’ article opens by quoting OneLife’s own article on the decision, titled “The Italian market is open again”.
It then goes on provide a timeline of what happened after OneCoin was declared an illegal pyramid scheme in Italy.
The Inspectorate for Competition and Market had also imposed a fine totaling 2.5 million euros when it classified (OneCoin) as an unlawful pyramid scheme.
(OneCoin’s) operators lodged a complaint against this decision before the Latium Administrative Court, requesting an emergency suspension of the sentence.
In other words, (they requested) payment of the sentence be adjourned till the end of the case.
The suspension was ordered by AGCM, who issued it based on preliminary findings that suggested OneCoin was a pyramid scheme.
According to Vzs, OneCoin’s initial appeal was denied. This saw the company pursue the matter in the Council of State (regional court).
The Council of State decided that payment of the penalty at the conclusion of the case would not be detrimental to the state budget, therefore (they) suspended payment (of the fine).
At the same time, the State Council instructed the Lazio Administrative Court to speedily start proceedings “on the merits” (of OneCoin’s appeal).
The administrative penalty imposed by (AGCM) (with a simultaneous ban on the (continued operating of OneCoin) is therefore still in force and valid; only the payment of the penalty was suspended until the competent courts “on the merits” have dealt with the pending appeals – so the market is by no means open again.
One possible reason OneCoin jumped the gun and announced the Italian ban had been lifted was the confusing nature of the Regional Court’s order.
On the other hand being a party to the case, surely OneCoin is being represented by Italian lawyers – so how did they get the decision wrong?
Another possibility (again based on the confusing language of the order), is that the Regional Court failed to explicitly reference the ban.
The order is quite vague and certainly suggests AGCM’s orders (both the suspension and fine) were overturned.
OneCoin read into it that the suspension had been lifted and Vzs are reading it as only applying to the fine.
Along with the European Consumer Center, Vzs was responsible for filing an initial complaint against OneCoin back in 2016.
With AGCM still investigating the matter, perhaps they’ll publish an update clarifying the current status of OneCoin in Italy.
Not that it necessarily matters. Since the ban OneCoin recruitment in Italy has all but ground to a halt anyway.
As per Alexa traffic estimates, Italy doesn’t register as a significant source of traffic on either the OneCoin or OneLife websites.