FinCEN: BNY Mellon Processes $ 137M Transactions for OneCoin-Related Companies

BNY Mellon processed $ 137 million worth of transactions for organizations associated with the OneCoin cryptocurrency pyramid, according to documents from the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

In February 2017, Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) flagged a number of transactions as suspicious when transferring data to the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN). These transactions appeared to be “tiered”, as happens in money laundering and concealment of the source of funds.

The bank said that transactions totaling $ 137 million were carried out by organizations associated with OneCoin, a cryptocurrency pyramid that is being investigated by law enforcement agencies around the world. According to current estimates, OneCoin has raised a total of $ 4 billion from investors.

FinCEN’s 2011 and 2017 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) show cases where banks have flagged transactions as suspicious and passed the data to FinCEN. Called the FinCEN files , this collection of 2,657 documents gives an idea of ​​how much illicit funds are going through the largest traditional financial institutions. 

According to the documents , Deutsche Bank a total noted as a suspicious transaction to $ 1.3 trillion, JPMorgan – $ 500 billion, and Bank of America -. To $ 384 billion BNY Mellon pointed out as suspicious transactions totaling $ 64 billion in 325 separate the SAR, filed with FinCEN …

Buzzfeed shared FinCEN files with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), which spun off one transaction in 2016 when BVI-based Fenero Equity Investments donated approximately $ 30 million from its DMS Bank & Trust account at BNY Mellon.

In the description of the payment, Fenero indicated that it was a “loan for CryptoReal,” an investment fund created by OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova. In a SAR filed at the time, BNY Mellon reported that Fenero frequently received transfers from OneCoin-linked frontmen. The money was sent to DBS, where it was deposited into the account of a local company called Barta Holdings.

The emails seized by the U.S. authorities last year show that New York-based lawyer Mark Scott, convicted of laundering $ 400 million for OneCoin, arranged a $ 30 million loan from Fenero, ostensibly to buy Barta Holdings an oil field. 

However, the letters say that the loan was never repaid and $ 10 million of the amount sent by Barta Holdings was actually spent by one of the co-founders of OneCoin. The testimony of Special Agent Kurt Hafer, assigned to the New York City Attorney’s Office, states:

“I believe that the alleged $ 30 million ‘loan’ from Fenero to Barta was arranged by Scott to launder the proceeds of OneCoin Ltd. for CC-2 [co-founder of OneCoin] “.

BNY spokesman Mellon told ICIJ that the bank fully complies with existing financial regulations and is serious about its role in protecting the integrity of the global financial system. He noted that according to the law, the bank cannot comment on specific SARs. 

DMS Bank & Trust also said it takes its legal obligations to combat fraud and money laundering very seriously. Investigations related to the OneCoin pyramid cryptocurrency are ongoing. Recently, a citizen of Singapore was found guilty and fined $ 72,000 for promotion OneCoin.

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