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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bacina

Grapefuit gouges gullible gamblers?

Updated: May 2

Law enforcement in the Philippines recently raided the offices of Grapefruit Services Inc. in Pasig, acting on a tipoff from the Chinese Embassy who claimed that Grapefruit was a cryptocurrency scam which was defrauded investors and speculators in mainland China.

Emphasising their point, the Chinese Embassy had cancelled the passports of Grapefruit’s 227 employees, all of whom are Chinese nationals and all of whom were arrested.

Sources allege that Grapefruit was

  • operating partially outside of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport;

  • it was expressly prohibited from engaging in activities related to being a securities broker or an investment adviser, or from having any operational involvement with exchanging fiat and digital currencies; amd

  • was in fact a scam seeking to fleece unsuspecting Chinese speculators/investors.

This comes after the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) began allowing blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the Special Economic Zone and Freeport in April 2018.

The CEZA is reported as being likely to generate over P3.9 billion (about AUD$100,000) from the licences it has already issued, and created over 20,000 jobs within the Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

This serves as a timely reminder that anyone dealing with offshore entities should do their homework to ensure they aren't being scammed. The old saying remains true "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is".


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