Onecoin promoters have been fined 2.6 million euros in Italy after the country’s antitrust authority found them engaging in a pyramid scheme and misleading promotions. The fines follow the authority’s previous suspensions of Onecoin activities, which have failed to stop its promotion in the country.
Onecoin Promoters Fined Millions of Euros
The Italian Competition Authority known as L’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) in Italian has fined several Onecoin promoters a total of €2,595,000 for running pyramid sales and for using misleading promotional methods. The Competition Authority is a quasi-autonomous, non-governmental organization financed by the Ministry of Economic Development. It is in charge of enforcing both Italian and European consumer protection laws. They wrote:
After the investigations, the Authority imposes sanctions against One Life Network Ltd (€ 2.000.000), One Network Services Ltd (€ 500.000), Easy Life Srl (€ 80.000), as well as the registrants of websites Onecoinsuedtirol.it, Onecoinitaliaofficial.it, Onecoinitalia.com (€ 5.000 each).
Pyramid Scheme and Misleading Information
The AGCM found that the methods used by One Life Network to promote the sale of Onecoin and its related training packages provide misleading information to consumers about the nature of the product and its pyramid scheme.
Consumers were misled into believing that after acquiring a training package, they could obtain “Onecoin cryptocurrency” which would substantially increase in value, the AGCM detailed. “For example, the purchase of the €27.530 package would have allowed a €3.000.000 equivalent after just two years of joining the program.” The authority also described how “recruitment of new consumers was the sole purpose of sales activity and was strongly encouraged by the recognition of various bonuses, the only real and effective remuneration of the program.”
A day after the ACGM’s announcement, Onecoin issued a response. Among other clarifications, the organization denied the pyramid sales allegations, its involvement with Easy Life Srl and the aforementioned domains, as well as the authority’s understanding of its business model.
Previous Suspensions Ineffective
In December 2016, the AGCM suspended the promotion of Onecoin by One Network Services Ltd as well as the registrants of two Onecoin-related domains.
Then in February of this year, the authority suspended the promotion of Onecoin by One Life Network and Easy Life Srl. At that time, only Easy Life Srl had reported that it had stopped the practice.
After the suspensions, Onecoin promoters have maintained that their system is “absolutely legal” and in compliance with European and national legislation. In addition, they continued to host meetings to promote and sell Onecoin. One Life Network, which is responsible for the sale of Onecoin in Italy, “continues unabated in its activities,” Wall Street Italia wrote, adding that “the authority therefore adopted a new approach of imposing a financial penalty.”
Do you think the fines will deter Onecoin promoters from operating in Italy? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, Onecoin, ACGM
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