|Headquarters of the Modern Tech JSC Co at 68 Nguyễn Huệ Street, District 1, HCM City. — Photo nld.vn|
HCM CITY — The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) was closely following an alleged cryptocurrency fraud in HCM City, to which as many as 32,000 people could have fallen victim, involving a sum of up to VNĐ15 trillion (US$666 million), a bank official said.
Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper on Tuesday cited SBV HCM City Branch deputy director Nguyễn Hoàng Minh saying that the bank would co-operate with police to investigate the case.
On Sunday afternoon, dozens of people gathered at the headquarters of the Modern Tech JSC Co at 68 Nguyễn Huệ Street, District 1, carrying banners saying “biggest digital money fraud in history” to protest against the company.
The location, however, was a ghost address. No activities of the company took place there.
According to the protesting citizens, Modern Tech advertised the cryptocurrency iFan to potential investors, promising them huge monthly interest of at least 48 per cent, in cash, and four months as the maximum time for full payback. Those who could invite others to buy the digital currency would also enjoy a commission of 8 per cent.
The only condition for the investors was that they had to buy at least $1,000 worth of the digital money.
For many, the lucrative offer was too tempting to decline. More than 32,000 investors poured some VNĐ15 trillion into buying virtual money.
However, Modern Tech changed their policy following a global cryptocurrency crash late last year which caused iFan’s value plummeted to about 1 US cent per iFan.
The company no longer paid interest and principle back to the investors in cash, but in iFan currency. Modern Tech set iFan’s value at $5, much higher than the market price, causing losses to the customers.
Victim Lê Thị Hương said that a group of high-level investors in the pyramid-structured company used to organise meetings and deliver speeches to attract more investors, but they started denying their involvement with the company when the cryptocurrency market collapsed in 2017.
All their Facebook accounts disappeared in January this year, Hương said.
“It was only then that we truly understood what we had refused to believe before. Our money is all lost,” she said.
Minh said that cryptocurrency was not legally recognised by the SBV and hence it would be very difficult to protect the rights of digital money owners.
Police are investigating the case. — VNS