SINGAPORE – Two Singapore business directors from different firms were brought to court after allegedly promoting a multilevel marketing scheme involving a so-called crypto-currency known as OneCoin.
In a statement on Wednesday (April 10), police said that this is the first such case.
"The alleged crypto-currency OneCoin is allegedly founded by a Bulgarian and has several features similar to Bitcoin. Several countries, including New Zealand, have issued notices to members of the public against involvement with OneCoin."
The statement adds that the United States has qualified OneCoin to fraudulently encrypt and charge people associated with OneCoin.
Lim Yoong Fook, 47, who is director of One Concept, a Singapore-based interior decoration company, was charged on Wednesday with two offenses under the Multi-Level Marketing Act and the Prohibition Sale Act.
The other man, Fok Fook Seng, 51, who is the director of locally registered companies, including the wholesale trade company A Roboclean (S), faces an indictment under the same Act.
According to court documents, the pair allegedly promoted a scheme in which participants were cleared under an initiative known as OneLife's Global Compensation Plan.
Lim would have committed the crime between June 2015 and June 2017, while the Fok allegedly did so from April 2016 to June 2017.
Police said local residents participated in the scheme by purchasing online educational courses with "promotional tokens."
These tokens could be used to "mine" OneCoins. "Mining" is the term used to describe the mathematical calculations and other processes necessary to maintain the cryptomanes.
Judicial documents did not reveal details about the scheme, as well as the number of participants and amounts of money involved.
In addition to these, Lim is also accused of incorporating One Concept to promote the multilevel marketing scheme.
According to police, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) listed OneCoin and One Concept on the Investor Alert List (IAL).
They said, "The IAL is a non-exhaustive list of unregulated entities that may have been mistakenly perceived to be licensed or authorized by MAS … The fact that a company is listed on the IAL does not necessarily mean that it has violated any of the regulations of MAS.
"However, investors should keep in mind that these entities had a past history of being mistakenly perceived by others as being licensed by the MAS when they are not."
The police also advised members of the public not to participate in or promote any multilevel marketing schemes involving OneCoin or One Concept.
Lim was bailed for $ 60,000, while Fok's bail was set at $ 30,000. They will be back in court on May 8.