To con the masses of investors interested in the first billion-dollar ICO, some fraudsters in the United Kingdom have officially registered a company called Telegram Open Network Limited.
The company was registered on February 28 under the name of Pavel Durov, founder of the encrypted messaging app Telegram. The name of the fake company was kept very similar to Telegrams proposed blockchain platform Telegram Open Network (TON).
Telegram recently tweeted about this fake firm saying they have no ties of any kind with the UK-based company.
This entry is fake (https://t.co/vs6ZKJyiCG). Most likely a prank or scam, no such company was registered by Pavel.
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) April 6, 2018
Telegram, this year, broke all records of the blockchain industry by raising more than one billion dollars in two closed-door rounds of token offering for its upcoming blockchain platform. The platform’s already 200 million-strong userbase along with the team’s credibility and past performance have made it one of the most lucrative ICOs so far. Telegram dwarfed the previous leader in the ICO market – Filecoin – which raised $257 million.
The fake company was likely set up in an attempt to deceive the early investors from the real project website and thus stealing hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. Considering the size of Telegram ICO, deceiving only a fraction of the investors could get the firm hundreds of thousands of dollars. The legal registration of the company would also provide some credibility to it to look like the original project.
The eyebrows of the authorities were raised as the company claimed to have $1.13 billion in paid-up capital, a sum which would have attracted massive amount in taxes according to British law. A closer investigation revealed that Pavel Durov is listed as the director, founder, and secretary of the fraud company. However, the registration details describe his as a British citizen, whereas he gained St Kitts and Nevis citizenship after donating $250,000 to a sugar industry in the Caribbean island.
The Calvert Journal quoted an official of Companies’ House, the United Kingdom’s registrar of companies: “Companies House has a thorough and proportionate approach to ensuring the integrity of the information on the register. We undertake numerous checks at incorporation and through the life of the company.”
“Where potentially criminal activities are suspected, we work closely with law enforcement bodies. Where a director has been appointed without their consent, we have a robust legislative process in place to remove them,” the official added.