After having $5 mln seized by local law enforcement agencies and police in Germany and India, operators of OneCoin have become more alert. The organization began to target German journalists including Friedemann Brenneis to extort a settlement.
On April 27, Cointelegraph reported that 18 seminar organizers of OneCoin were arrested in India. Local police commissioner Hemant Nagrale, as well as the local law enforcement, described the OneCoin event as a “Ponzi scheme seminar.”
“Hence we arrested the 18 people who had organized the seminar and are investigating the case to trace the mastermind,” said Nagrale.
In an interview with Times of India, Nagrale further noted that around $3 mln was seized from OneCoin operators and their bank accounts in a series of raids.
Prior to the crackdown of OneCoin in India, a OneCoin satellite firm was shut down and penalized by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) for operating without a license. IMS International Marketing Services GmbH was fined with $2 mln for ignoring the warnings of the government and local law enforcement.
Friedemann Brenneis, the German journalist who reported the closure of the bank accounts of IMS GmBH, was threatened by the legal team and attorneys of OneCoin. On The Coinspondent, Brenneis revealed that he received a massive amount of Abmahnungen, a written warning which demands targeted individuals to settle for a large legal fee to avoid a lawsuit.
“In the past days, I have received legal letters from several (!) Onecoin lawyers that are extremely irritated about an article I have published. In this article, I was simply pointing out two publications by BaFin (t.n.: the German banking watchdog) concerning Onecoin. Concretely, the two publications in the section of “illegitimate business” are this one and this one. For legally tactical reasons I have taken the original article offline, even though all the non-Onecoin people I have talked to about them couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Onecoin advocates, however, are known for being very sensitive about criticism. They react all the more fiercely for it.”
According to Brenneis, most of the media outlets and journalists that have reported on the same incident took down their articles due to the consistent threats of the OneCoin team. Although the publications allegedly sued by OneCoin remain certain their articles or coverage are fair and transparent, Brenneis reaffirmed that the vast majority of the publishers took their articles in fear of potential lawsuits that could result in larger legal fees.
Brenneis hasn’t taken down the article yet. In fact, he is asking the community to fund his campaign to prove the innocence of German media outlets and the fraudulent activities of OneCoin.