Maltese among suspects in global medical cannabis Ponzi scheme

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Maltese nationals are among various suspects from Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Jordan, the United States and Venezuela involved in an international Ponzi scheme, which allegedly made money by selling medical cannabis. The scheme defrauded €645 million between early 2020 to July 2022, and had a total of 550,000 participants globally, although only 186,000 transferred money in the scheme. Most of the participants were European.
The medical cannabis platform used was called Juicyfields where investors could invest a minimum of €50 to be linked with producers of medical cannabis. The cannabis would then be sold to authorised sellers. The company pledged returns of 100% or more, but did not reveal how they would accomplish this or be able to guarantee it. It was advertised as connecting investors to producers of medical cannabis.
In July 2022, the company shut down without any explanation. The company’s social media accounts shut down and investors where unable to login and withdraw funds from the platform. When investors tried to contact the company by email, they were alerted that the email address no longer existed.
A number of court cases were filed against the company, and, eventually investigations by various national as well as European authorities. In Germany, France and Spain alone, over 4 500 victims lodged formal complaints with the relevant authorities.
The Malta Police Force, among other authorities including Europol, Eurojust and national authorities from various countries, participated in the investigations.
A Russian national, suspected to have been one of the main organisers of the scheme, was traced to a residence in the Dominican Republic. Officials from the authorities of the Dominican Republic, assisted by the Spanish investigation, search his property to gather evidence.
The investigation led to the freezing or seizure of €4,700,000 in bank accounts, €1,515,000 in cryptocurrencies, €106,000 in cash and €2,600,000 in real estate assets. Several luxury vehicles, works of art, cash and various luxury items, electronic devices and documents were also seized as part of the investigation.

– foto: Agenzia Fotogramma –

Source: medNews