unetenet-logoBehindMLM first reviewed Unetenet back in 2013, identifying it as a Ponzi investment scheme.

Back then “franchises” were the ruse, with Unetenet affiliates investing between $360 and $9000 on the promise of advertised weekly ROIs.


At some point a cryptocurrency was attached to the scheme, referred to as the “Unete”.

Unete, a digital currency that could be used to buy and sell things on the internet. It would be worth one US dollar, and serve as a way of avoiding the ups and downs of the currency market.

Outside the control of any government or financial institution, it was launched in 2013.

Affiliates had funds they’d already invested along with new investments converted into these Unetes… and that’s when things began to fall apart.

All in all some 20,000 investors are alleged to have lost €50 million EUR ($56 million USD) in Unetenet, with a class-action lawsuit filed by 6000 victims shedding light on the scheme’s inner operations.

In mid 2014 Unetenet was targeted by the Bank of Latvia and Payoneer payment processor, both freezing Unetenet accounts containing invested funds.

This prompted Unetenet to release Unete, through which the scheme told affiliates their ‘money will be invisible (and) available when we need to move anywhere in the world‘.

What that really meant was

because the currency is digital, nobody can get their hands on it.

A complex network of tax havens and frozen bank accounts is to blame, according to those close to this alleged fraud.

Now Unetenet investors who failed to ask where exactly the scheme was keeping their funds, are struggling to deal with their losses.

“I have 8,000 unetes that I cannot convert to euros,” says Carmen Ramírez, a pensioner from Córdoba.

“José Manuel told us he was setting up a unete bank, and we believed him,” says businessman Alain Tamellini, who bought €18,000 worth of the cyber currency.

“José Manuel told us he was setting up a unete bank, and we believed him,” says businessman Alain Tamellini, who bought €18,000 worth of the cyber currency.

“This is a pyramid scheme,” adds Pablo P, from Málaga.

José Manuel Ramírez Marco, credited as the mastermind behind Unetenet, meanwhile profited handsomely:

The first stage in the process was converting euros to unetes.

This involved a transfer to Union Business Online Ltd, located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a former British colony and now tax haven in the Caribbean.

“His businesses handled up to €70 million,” says Adrián Trigo, a former partner of Ramírez.

Funds were then transferred to accounts in Malta, Romania and Latvia.

Trigo says that up to €1.5 million was being paid into Ramírez’s accounts every day at one point.

Ultimately it was the Latvia regulatory action that saw Unetenet collapse. Ramirez is currently in hiding and remains at large.

Meanwhile Spanish regulators have yet to lift a finger, at least publicly. Whether or not they are even investigating the €50 million EUR Ponzi scheme is unclear.

Looking deeper into how Unetenet managed to fleece €50 million from its victims, the cult-like status of Ramirez within the scheme tells an all too familiar story:

Ramírez got the unete idea from Sergey Mavrodi, a Russian entrepreneur who set up a scheme in the 1990s that ruined thousands of small investors.

“José Manuel was obsessed with Mavrodi,” says one former collaborator, adding that his former boss was constantly trying to work out how to set up a bank, an alternative financial system, and even a city, to be called Unetecity.

To publicize his business, Ramírez posted videos on YouTube, as well as organizing presentations.

“We are a sound company. Our holding was set up in 2008,” he would tell investors. The Spanish business registry shows that Ramírez set up Union Business Online in the small Málaga seaside town of Rincón de la Victoria with Pilar Otero.

The company has yet to have its books audited.

Ramírez’s strategy was to expand internationally. He said he had set up a bank in Dubai, and opened offices in a business center in Malta. A receptionist there said last week that it has no record of Ramírez.

Talking to some of Ramírez’s investors it becomes clear that he is a charismatic figure.

“He is a wonderful person. I love him,” says Gloria, based in Torremolinos, who has invested €15,000 in the unete.

The idolization of figures central to cryptocurrency-based MLM Ponzi schemes is a recurring theme among the niche’s biggest players.

OneCoin has their Doctor Ruja Ignatova and uFun Club, Dato Daniel Tay.

Both have copious amounts of hot air blown up their behinds by their investors, according to whom neither can do any wrong.

Ultimately however these schemes all play out the same. Real money is converted into points, pie-in-the-sky promises are made, people are deceived into thinking their points (Unetes, OneCoins, uTokens, investment points, IPO-Points or whatever the scheme refers to them as), with the owners and top investors withdrawing out the back-end.

Once regulators finally catch up, those running the schemes go underground and large amounts of money suddenly go missing.

And due to the offshore nature of these schemes, recovery is of course time-consuming and problematic. Unetenet investor struggles being a perfect example.

For investors in uFun Club and OneCoin, the current Unetenet situation is pretty much a roadmap of what’s to come.