Spanish national police have arrested 20 people involved in massive Ponzi scheme, Unetenet. The investment company has reportedly swindled 50,000 investors out of €50 million, according to major national news outlet El Pais.
Unetenet, an alleged alternative investment firm, promised affiliates annual ROIs of over 350% paid in the company’s homemade virtual currency, ‘unete.’
“I have 8,000 unetes that I cannot convert to euros,” Carmen Ramírez, a pensioner from Córdoba and a victim of the scheme, told the news service.
Alain Tamellina, a businessman who bought €18,000 worth of unete, said:
“José Manuel told us he was setting up a unete bank, and we believed him.”
In April 2014, the company stopped paying its investors, after Latvian bank Rietumu froze the account of Unetenet founder José Manuel Ramírez Marco, as part of an investigation into money laundering.
Spain’s National Court blocked his Latvian bank account containing €5 million and is further retaining US$22 million belonging to the company.
Union Business Online LTD, the company operating Unetenet, is registered in the tax haven of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines where investors’ funds would then be transferred to Malta, Romania and Latvia.