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Daily fraud update: 5th March

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Swedish government urges investigation into alleged fraud

The government of Sweden has responded after accusations emerged of a bitcoin fraud scheme which targeted a wide range of victims in the country and elsewhere.

According to the cryptocurrency press, the alleged culprit is a firm based in Ukraine.

It is alleged that the company, called Milton Group and which is said to be an IT firm, carried out the fraud against a number of victims from across the globe.

Allegations suggest that victims in countries such as Sweden, New Zealand and Australia were asked to invest in bitcoin schemes which turned out to be scams.

It is believed that victims in the United Kingdom were targeted too.

Overall, around $70m is estimated to have been taken from victims – with some older people losing significant amounts of cash overall.

According to the Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde, it was time for the Ukrainian government to take action.

She described how a major newspaper in Sweden, Dagens Nyheter (DN), had helped exposed the problems.

“The most important thing is that [the allegations] get attention. I don’t know if this information exists in Ukrainian, otherwise it is up to DN to make sure it does”, she said.

“It is really upsetting to see how they bluff Swedish retirees who have to leave their homes and live on a minimum subsistence level. And then they sit there, laughing”, she added.

Milton Group is believed to be based in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev.

There was also some criticism for Facebook too.

Some senior Swedish government officials claimed that the major social networking site failed to prevent the circulation of adverts from Milton Group.

The alleged scam only came to public knowledge as a result of a whistle-blower who revealed how the alleged scam worked.

He said that he worked for the company on its so-called retention team, where bosses told him that he had to make hundreds of phone calls every single day.

This came after the alleged victims had seen Facebook adverts.

He also said that employees were told to alter the identities they gave to clients – and that they even pretended to be legal representatives offering to work to get the scammed cash back in return for payment.

Indian Supreme Court ends ban on crypto trade

The Supreme Court in India has overturned a ban on crypto trading implemented by the country’s central bank.

The Reserve Bank of India had previously banned a whole range of trading activities, including exchanges.

However, three judges – Rohinton Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V Ramasubramanian – decided that this was illegal.

It followed a range of appeals from many organisations, including the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI).

It comes after a move from the Reserve Bank of India in 2018 which banned financial institutions from providing any sort of crypto service.