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Taiwan arrests eight Bitcoin traders on suspicion of fraud

2018/06/22 22:29:46

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) Eight people suspected of having amassed nearly NT$1.5 billion (US$49.55 million) in illegal assets through a Bitcoin investment scheme have been arrested and handed over to the Taichung District Prosecutors Office for questioning, the Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Justice (MJIB) said Friday.

Yen Chih-chuan (顏志娟), an MJIB official in Taichung, said the suspects were arrested in Taipei and Taichung on June 13 after local authorities recently received a tip off about a cryptocurrency scam in Taiwan.

The group running the scam has allegedly defrauded over 1,000 people in Taiwan with the promise of a large-yield return of as high as 355 percent after a year of investment in Bitcoin, investigators said.

However, investors have failed to receive any returns since March this year, investigators said.

A total of 26 bank accounts belonging to the eight suspects have been frozen, according to the bureau.

Evidence seized in the raids, including bankbooks and investment documents, have been turned over to prosecutors for further investigation.

Among the eight suspects, a man surnamed Lin (林) claimed to be one of the two group leaders who set up an International Reserve System (IRS) office in Taiwan in Aug. 2017.

According to investigators, the IRS reportedly has offices in Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey, India, Kazakhstan, China and India.

On Friday, the eight suspects were brought to the Taichung District Prosecutors Office for questioning, but each were later released on bail of between NT$100,000 to NT$10 million.

An investigation is ongoing.

(By Su Mu-chun and Ko Lin)