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Criminal proceeds restrained from large scale fraud

Detective Inspector Christiaan Barnard, Central Asset Recovery Unit:

Successful collaboration with international jurisdictions has resulted in the restraint of a Wellington property and $462,000 dollars believed to be the proceeds of a pyramid scheme.

New Zealand Police have worked in collaboration with law enforcement partners to locate and seize the New Zealand-based profits of crime from Frank Schneider, a Luxembourg national.

The money is alleged to have been sent to an associate in New Zealand to buy assets and property, between 2018 and 2020.

Schneider was arrested in France in 2021 after being charged by United States authorities with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and with money laundering. He has since escaped house arrest, and is being sought.

Schneider was the CEO of Sandstone which was contracted by Onecoin Ltd, a company alleged to have created a NZ$6.5 billion dollar pyramid scheme originating in Europe. A number of the company’s executives have been prosecuted or are currently on the run. There is no suggestion that any of the Onecoin suspects are in New Zealand.

“The New Zealand Police will continue to work with our international partners to ensure that New Zealand’s financial system is not abused to hide illicit income,” says Detective Inspector Christiaan Barnard.

An investigation is ongoing, pending an application to the High Court seeking forfeiture of these assets.

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