Two more OneCoin arrests, money trail leads to Bulgaria & Mauritius
The interrogation of Indian OneCoin affiliates in custody continues to pay off, with a continuing investigation by the Mumbai EOW leading to two more arrests.
While OneCoin is notorious for laundering money through shell companies at a corporate level, the Indian investigation is revealing how things work on the ground.
The EOW arrested Amit Kedia and Nayan Patel on May 8th and May 12th respectively.
Tushar Doshi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch), said, “Patel had left the country and we issued a lookout notice to the Airports Authority of India seeking his detention.
He had travelled to Hongkong from Dubai and was nabbed at the Mumbai International Airport while trying to re-enter the country.”
Hong Kong puts Patel near the recent OneCoin Macau event but whether he attended is unclear.
Dubai meanwhile is believed to be where the financial side of OneCoin is coordinated (money laundering, setting up shell companies and bank accounts etc.).
Mr. Awate said, “The money trail of the one coin scam led us to two accounts named Premium payment solution.
One account had ₹19 crore and the other ₹5 crore ($2.9 million and $776,579 USD). Kedia was the director of the first account, but owned just 0.1% of the money.
He was made director because as per Indian government’s rules, a foreign investor needs an Indian director as partner while opening a bank account.
Whether Kedia and Patel are OneCoin affiliates is unclear.
It should be noted that OneCoin has a history of recruiting local individuals to run money laundering operations through.
Many of OneCoin’s shell companies and real estate in Bulgaria, for example, are incorporated through a taxi driver based in Sofia.
“Kedia was not aware of the transaction, but he grew suspicious. He wrote to the bank informing his resignation as the director of the account and requested the bank to freeze the account.
After keeping the account under observation for six months, the bank froze the account in February.
Unable to make transactions, the main accused based in Mauritius and Bulgaria opened the other account. The ₹5 crore has been seized.”
The two accused individuals are Mary Beyance from Mauritius and Ereena Andreva Belkinska from Bulgaria. Their current whereabouts are unknown but both are now wanted by the EOW.
There is a striking similarity between Ereena Belkinska and Irina Dilkinska, OneCoin’s Head of Legal and Compliance. Whether the two are the same person (bad spelling?) is unclear.
After the bogus account in Kedia’s name was frozen, Beyance and Belkinska set up new account in Nayan Patel’s name.
As a precaution against laundered funds getting frozen again, this time deposits were quickly cleared out.
Patel was promised a monthly commission.
Mr. Awate said, “Patel was unware of where the money was being deposited into his account. But he observed that money was deposited frequently and transferred or withdrawn immediately.
Money was not kept in the account for a long period.”
The EOW has frozen 35 accounts used to deposit money into the account.
Details of the thirty-five accounts used as feeders into the primary account in Patel’s name have not been disclosed. The Patel account itself was likely feeding a master OneCoin account held offshore.
The EOW hopes to arrest more people as investigations into the money trail proceeds.
To date there have been twenty arrests in India in connection to OneCoin.
In related news, OneCoin’s Founder Ruja Ignatova recently announced she was taking questions for an upcoming “live webinar” on June 14th.
Perhaps she can explain to OneCoin affiliates why she hasn’t flown to India to personally explain to authorities how OneCoin isn’t a Ponzi scheme?
I’m sure the EOW would love to sit down for a chat…