Sunken treasure gets the crypto-scam treatment

August 01, 2018
Chris Wheal

South Korean police are investigating a cryptocurrency investment scam that is alleged to have involved sunken treasure from a century old Russian shipwreck.


Pieces of eight: the cryptocurrency scam allegedly involved repayment in shipwrecked gold

JoongAng Daily reported on Wednesday that Seoul police had issued a travel ban on Choi Yong-seok, the chief executive of Shinil Group, for allegedly plotting to encourage investment in the company’s cryptocurrency to fund salvage operations from the Dmitrii Donskoi, a Russian cruiser that sank 113 years ago.

Pieces of eight

Shinil is alleged to have promised to reimburse investment in its cryptocurrency with gold from the wreck. Indeed, the company claimed the wrecked ship was loaded with Won150tn ($131bn) of gold.

The token sale reportedly attracted Won60bn of investments from approximately 100,000 investors – despite Choi’s admitting that he couldn’t be sure the ship contained anything of value.

Previous conviction

Head of the alleged investment scam was Yu Ji-beom, chief executive of a Shinil Group affiliate based in Singapore, who had previously been convicted of real estate fraud, according to JoongAng Daily.

Investors are reminded, that any cryptocurrency investment scheme that promises guaranteed or immediate returns is likely to be a scam. Ones that involve sunken treasure are likely to be run by pirates.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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