Zimbabweans Fall Prey To Yet Another Pyramid Scheme
8 July 2024
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By A Correspondent| Zimbabweans in Cyprus have fallen prey to a pyramid scheme that defrauded thousands of people.

The suspected man behind the scheme has since been arrested by Cyprus authorities.

Victims in Zimbabwe alone reportedly invested US$146,396 into the scheme.

The pyramid scheme has since collapsed leaving thousands of people counting losses which run into millions of dollars.

According to Cyprus authorities, the suspect, posing as a representative of Metamax, allegedly lured investors with promises of substantial monthly returns, resulting in significant financial losses. Cyprus law enforcement agencies are now meticulously investigating the suspect’s bank accounts and other assets, as reported by Cyprus news agency Philenews.

“The complainants allege that the suspect, presenting himself as a Metamax representative in Cyprus, encouraged investments through videos, claiming to earn €30,000 monthly. So far, the authorities have received 11 complaints from various police departments,” Philenews reported. Dozens are calling the authorities daily, stating they have fallen victim to the scheme.

The suspect, an ex-police officer, appeared before the Limassol District Court, which ordered his detention for eight days.

According to Panayiotis Mourides, head of the Limassol CID’s Economic Crime Investigation Office, Interpol Athens notified Interpol Nicosia on July 5 that Cypriot citizens were involved with Metamax.

An estimated 100 more statements are expected to be taken as part of the investigation. Investigators will examine various pieces of evidence, including the suspect’s and others’ mobile phones, the news agency added.

Allegations are that on July 5, the 54-year-old, accompanied by his lawyers, went to the Paphos CID, stating that his life and his family’s lives were in danger from individuals who sent him threatening messages, holding him responsible for their financial losses.

The suspect claimed he joined the platform in August 2023, initially investing $15 to evaluate advertisements. He stated that he invested $62 and earned €60,000, which was deposited in his Metamax account while his profits reached €130,000.

However, he claimed he was unable to transfer these funds to his bank account. The suspect professes ignorance of who created the platform, asserting that he is also a victim.

He mentioned that he recently traveled to the Philippines, invited for the inauguration of Metamax in Asia, where he realized he was in immediate danger.

Additionally, he stated that he had been communicating with a woman claiming to be from Canada, who showed him documents online indicating that Metamax was registered in Canada, convincing him to invest.

He denies having a leadership role in the group of Cypriot and Greek investors and rejects claims that he organized meetings to persuade unsuspecting citizens to invest.

Meanwhile, back in Zimbabwe, the fallout has left many in desperate circumstances, demanding answers and immediate action from the company.

In a leaked conversation between Metamax officials, Berith, a Metamax team leader for Zimbabwe, communicated her dire situation to Ms. Ava, a Metamax official.

Berith described the mounting pressure from friends and relatives who had invested in the scheme and were now demanding repayment. “My personal safety is under serious threat,” she pleaded, revealing that her team members, mostly from impoverished areas in Zimbabwe, had entrusted their life’s savings to Metamax, only to face delayed withdrawals and financial uncertainty.

Ms. Ava, acknowledging the company’s financial issues, urged calm but provided little reassurance or concrete solutions, leaving hundreds of Zimbabweans caught in the Metamax web licking their wounds.

This crisis underscores the devastating impact of financial fraud on vulnerable communities. Meanwhile, Metamax is said to have created a new platform, Traffic Ad, another Ponzi scheme selling packages that promise daily earnings, primarily targeting individuals in lower-income countries.

While the scheme may initially pay out, most investors reportedly do not withdraw their earnings and become trapped when the scam eventually collapses.