11.06.24, 10:55

4.4 billion AMD Involved Funds, 12000 Involved People, 31 Defendants; Preliminary Investigation of Criminal Proceeding on Financial Pyramid Known as «Vodanet» and «Onyxum» Completed

4.4 billion AMD Involved Funds, 12000 Involved People, 31 Defendants; Preliminary Investigation of Criminal Proceeding on Financial Pyramid Known as «Vodanet» and «Onyxum» Completed

Preliminary investigation on the part of 31 defendants within the criminal proceeding initiated on creating, organizing, managing a financial pyramid was completed.

In the result of large-scale and cooredinated investigative and procedural actions conducted in the Department of Investigation of Crimes against Property of General Department of Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the RA Investigative Committee it was found out that in 2013 the citizen of the Republic of Lithuania registered the company called «Vodanet British LTD» in the United Kingdom and  «» site was launched on the internet with the use of which illegal activities were carried out in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Within the framework of the proceeding initiated on it criminal prosecutions were initiated by the competent bodies of the IRI against the persons coordinating the organization.

Avoiding criminal liability, three IRI citizens involved in the mentioned criminal group moved to Armenia, in 2016 founding a branch of the organization called «Vodanet British LTD» and reaching criminal agreement with a number of Armenian citizens, in a way prohibited by law and without the purpose of carrying out real business activity, started attracting and redestributing new property funds through already established financial schemes. For this purpose regional offices under «Voda» brand were established in Yerevan and numerous regions of the RA.

It was found out that since 2017 a number of RA citizens, learning about the activity of «Vodanet British LTD» company, had been involved in the system of the financial pyramid and some of them learning the content of the real activity of the financial pyramid operating under the name of «Vodanet British LTD» company, reached criminal agreement with the coordinators of the organization in acting in concerted efforts and bringing their benefit for profit to an organization operating in a publicly dangerous way.

The mentioned people, getting acquainted with the skills of fraudulent accumulation and redistribution of property funds in the financial pyramid system, with its use, under the pretext of phased courses, subjected many citizens to information processing, prompting them to make investments in hotel packages sold by the organization, to get a status of «independent business owner» and to get the right to profitably sell tourist packages in the system of a «reputable foreign company», making the purchase of a travel package a prerequisite for such apparent advantage, namely investing a certain amount of property. And the only possible way to earn money was due to the involvement of new investors and to receiving certain interest on account of the purchases made by them.

In order to achieve the status of coordinator - «leader» in «Voda» organization, the new participants took up involvement of their «wings» and «branches», i.e. followers in the financial pyramid with whom preparatory work was carried out. Then the potential investors were invited to the company's office where the nature of the activity was presented in a distorted way by the participants in the highest ranks of the criminal organization through phased presentations, new participants were inspired by the signals of irreversible success of their business activities and the inevitable possibility of making big money, using aggressive information and advertising campaigns of manipulative influence.

After passing the phased «courses», the person was offered to buy any of the hotel packages urging to give preference to the packages with higher value, worth 450-13,000 USD, with units providing the opportunity to start business activities with more favorable conditions. And in case the investor did not have the necessary money to buy packages, the coordinators of the organized group offered him/her to pledge gold, sell personal property, take loans reasoning that the offered business provided an opportunity to repay the loan amount in a short period of time and accumulate wealth.

The «leaders» coordinating the financial pyramid initially made the transfers under the pretext of booking hotel packages both through bank transfers and through crypto-currency and electronic wallets outside the control of the RA toolkit. In order to avoid possible control over the process later on and to hide the true amount of the stolen property, they demanded that the investments should be made exclusiveley in cash, cryptocurrency, and electronic units «e...» launched in the financial scheme

Through investigation it was grounded that the process of booking and selling hotel packages was also distorted by the members of the organization, artificial barriers were made depriving the buyer of the right to fully manage his/her property, in this case the hotel package.

Particularly, money of alleged hotel package reservations was transferred to the accounts controlled by an organized criminal group, the real reservation in the hotels was made after the buyer had expressed a desire to go on a vacation and the person purchasing the package was obliged to inform about it at least one month before departure. After it a limited number of hotel accommodation offers was received from which a selection was made.

Besides, even though the person had paid the full amount of the hotel package in the form of investment, the latter was deprived of the opportunity to consume the full days of the purchased package in the same year, as it was divided into several years.

The information about the quality, location and services of the apparent goods subject to sale were also distorted, presenting the hotel accomodations as tourist, leisure high-class hotel packages, not telling in advance that the expenses for the departure and return tickets, entry visa, food and other additional ones were not included in them.

Creating such artificial barriers, the members of the criminal group pursued a goal to exclude as much as possible the possibility of the buyer to use the service encouraging them to attract new participants, to sell the latters hotel packages and to receive interests from the sold packages. As a result, at least 7.500 citizens were involved by the members of the criminal group in the financial pyramid operating under the name of «Vodanet British LTD».  

As a result of criminal prosecutions conducted by the IRI law enforcement bodies since 2018, the activity of «Vodanet British LTD» company was suspended, and the activity of the site «» operating under its name was terminated, because of which the financial pyramid system was disintegrated and divided into two groups. A part of the IRI citizens left for Turkey taking up a similar activity in the territory of the mentioned country, the others stayed in the Republic of Armenia.

The citizens of Armenia, IRI and Canada, with prior agreement, registered the company named «Onyxum» in Canada instead of «Vodanet British LTD», launching the site with similar name «» on the internet and regrouping the main coordinators of the organized criminal group operating under the name of «Vodanet British LTD». Taking up the succession of an organization operating in a publicly dangerous manner with the intention of taking over the human resources already engaged, with the already developed and improved methodology, they continued the continuous replenishment of the financial pyramid aimed at obtaining property profit from the involvement of new investors in the territory of the RA. As of September, 2021 about 12.000 citizens and financial means in the amount of 4 484 031 920 AMD tantamount to 9.188.590 USD were involved in it.

On the base of the obtained sufficient facts charges were pressed against 34 citizens of the RA, IRI and Canada according to the Points 1 and 3 of the Part 3 of the Article 189.1 of RA former Criminal Code. Three of them were also charged with committing an act prohibited by the Points 1 and 2 of the Part 3 of the Article 190 of RA former Criminal Code.

Detention was selected as a pretrial measure against three persons and search was declared.

Within the framework of the criminal proceeding over 100 citizens were interrogated 30 of which have a procedural status of victim. The Republic of Armenia was also found as victim.

Preliminary investigation on 31 defendants was completed and the materials of the criminal proceeding with the bill of indictment were sent to court.

The RA Investigative Committee again urges the citizens to refrain from entering into relations with those acting on behalf of the organizations operating in the mentioned and similar schemes, making investments, showing them assistance in any way. And those who have already been affected by the activity of such organizations are asked to apply to the RA Investigative Committee and other law enforcement bodies.

Note; Everyone charged with alleged crime offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.