Early last year Chinese authorities in Guandong arrested three top Chinese OneCoin affiliates.
The arrests eventually lead to the recovery of $45.7 million dollars in stolen funds.
In what appears to be a related investigation north of Guandong in Hunan province, thirty-five OneCoin affiliates were recently arrested.
The arrested affiliates were accused of soliciting investment into OneCoin, recognized as an illegal Ponzi scheme the world over.
Following the arrests Chinese authorities filed criminal charges, with the case coming up for trial in the Zhuzhou City People’s Court on September 8th.
The court acknowledged that OneCoin was operated out of Bulgaria and, based on its business model, concluded it was a pyramid scheme.
OneCoin’s business is, in essence, an investment in a virtual currency.
Participants are asked to pay a fee to join and through direct and indirect activitied receive a return.
The return is made in installments, with high returns used as bait to lure new participants into the fraudulent business.
The court did not recognize OneCoin a currency, crypto or otherwise, with a decision against the accused finding OneCoin
is not issued by Chinese monetary authorities, has no legal status in China and can and should not be used as a currency within China.
Authorities allege the thirty-five arrested OneCoin affiliates stole between 10,000 to 20 million yuan each from victims ($1546 to $3 million USD).
13.6 million yuan ($2.1 million USD) of the millions stolen was seized and recovered.
At trial the Zhuzhou County People’s Court found all thirty-five OneCoin affiliate defendants guilty.
Sentences ranged from probation to “several years imprisonment”, on top of fines ranging from 10,000 to 5 million yuan ($1546 to $773,455 USD).
On Monday Chinese authorities banned ICOs and ordered companies soliciting ICO investment from Chinese citizens to provide refunds.
OneCoin has solicited investment in China since late 2014, solely on the ongoing promise of OneCoin eventually going public.
To date OneCoin has not clarified whether it intends to refund Chinese affiliates as now required by law.