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12° Nicosia,
15 July, 2024
 

Court detains suspect in Metamax pyramid scheme

Alleged leader, who claims to be a victim himself, faces charges amid growing number of victims

Newsroom

A 54-year-old man arrested in connection with the "pyramid" fraud scheme known as Metamax has been ordered detained for eight days by the Limassol District Court, according to proceedings held on Saturday, July 6th. The suspect, who allegedly posed as the leader of Metamax in Cyprus, also claimed to be a victim of the fraudulent operation.

During the morning court session, details emerged that the suspect purportedly convinced relatives and others to invest in Metamax, presenting himself as its top figure. Investors were instructed to register on a specialized platform and deposit funds in cryptocurrencies, with promises of bonuses for recruiting new participants. When the company abruptly ceased operations, investors were unable to withdraw their funds, prompting them to report the situation to law enforcement.

Complaints filed to date include five from Limassol, four from Nicosia, and one each from Larnaca and Paphos. Authorities anticipate additional reports, with estimates suggesting approximately 15,000 individuals across Cyprus, Greece, and other countries may have fallen victim to the scheme.

In court, the 54-year-old denied the charges, claiming to also be a victim and asserting he had received threats related to the case. He cooperated with investigators during the detention proceedings and did not contest his confinement.

Responding to media reports about the suspect's prior employment as a police officer 23 years ago, from December 1999 to August 2001, the police clarified that this background is unrelated to the current charges.

Interpol provided additional testimony against the suspect, confirming his involvement in the Metamax scheme. Lefteris Kyriakou, Head of Limassol CID, outlined charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, extortion by false representations, promotion of a pyramid scheme, and money laundering being pursued against the suspect during his detention. Fifteen individuals have submitted written statements, with many more expected to report being defrauded in the coming days.

Kyriakou emphasized the establishment of an investigative team at Limassol Police and urged all victims of the pyramid scheme to file complaints promptly.

[Information from CNA]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  crime  |  fraud

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