China Charges PlusToken Organizers in $2.3 Billion Crypto Scam

A Chinese court in the eastern province of Jiangsu charged organizers of PlusToken with building a pyramid scheme which collected billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from members.

The ruling on 14 people including Chen Bo, who created the platform in 2018, was upheld in a second trial as final, according to a document from the Intermediate People’s Court in Yancheng city. The statement was released Nov. 26 on a website affiliated with the Supreme Court.

Cryptocurrencies collected from users as a joining fee were valued at at least 14.8 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) as of June 2019, the document showed.

The platform had no actual operations or functions, the court said. The accused used the digital assets for expenses including paying employees, and sold some of them to buy properties and luxury cars for themselves or relatives, according to the document.

The authorities seized some of the digital assets including 194,775 of Bitcoin and 833,083 of Ether. At current prices, the Bitcoin alone would be about $3.3 billion and the Ether about $430 million. Some of the organizers hid and transferred cryptocurrencies worth about 150 million yuan at the time, which resulted in some losses, according to the document.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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