According to local Vietnamese news outlet VNExpress, Le Minh Tam, the CEO of Sky Mining, a large cryptocurrency mining company in Vietnam, recently fled with $35 million of investor money. Since his disappearance, investors and board members have not been able to reach the CEO. Investors also found that the company’s primary office, located in the Phu Nhuan District, was closed and that the company’s nameplate was removed from the vicinity.
20 investors have reported the cryptocurrency scam to Vietnamese police in the Phu Nhuan District after discovering that 600 cryptocurrency mining machines from the company’s factory in the neighboring Dong Nai Province’s Bien Hoa Town had been removed from premises. They were apparently removed by people who claimed to be maintenance workers.
Sky Mining: The Largest Cryptocurrency Mining Company in Vietnam
According to Sky Mining’s website, the cryptocurrency mining company enabled investors to purchase computer systems to mine cryptocurrencies. These mining rigs were worth between $100 and $5,000. Sky Mining had 26 key storage spots all around Vietnam designed to mine cryptocurrencies. The investors mentioned that the company had been active since March 2018 and had over 7,000 mining rigs.
The company was advertised as the “largest cryptocurrency mining company in Vietnam.” Apart from their size, Sky Mining also promised their investors large returns. Not only would the investors receive their initial investment, they would also be able to profit up to 300 percent. After a one-year period, investors would then return the mining rigs back to Sky Mining and keep their large profits.
News about Sky Mining’s significant returns spread quickly in Vietnam, especially since they employed a commission-based network model. They promised new investors that they would provide additional commissions and incentives if they could invite more people to join the company. In addition to their incentive model, Sky Mining hosted many elaborate events to attract new investors in Hanoi and HCMC.
Although Sky Mining turned out to be a big scam, it’s not a surprise that the company became such a quick hit in Vietnam. Cryptocurrency mining has become a very popular industry in the nation. According to a report by Xinhua, over 9,300 mining devices were imported in 2017 and 6,300 were imported from January to April in 2018.
Deputy Chairman and Board are also Victims of Scam
While many investors were extremely upset about the scam and went to question the board members, Le Minh Hieu, the deputy chairman of the company, mentioned that the board members of the company, “are victims too.” He added that “[the board] has reported this to the police and showed evidence that [the board is] not guilty.” Hieu said that after the scandal, many investors threatened to hurt his family.
Hieu mentioned to VNExpress that he has created a board of 16 people to assist the investors who have been scammed. Hieu’s team is currently calculating and dividing the company’s remaining assets.
Crypto Mining CEO Apologizes for Everything
In an unexpected twist, VNExpress also reports that Tam, the CEO, after having been missing for two days, wrote a note on a Sky Mining Facebook group apologizing for “everything.” He noted that the market was unpredictable and that cryptocurrency mining and the value of mining rigs had dropped significantly. Mining, he claimed, was no longer profitable.
“My last resort is to stay hidden from the public to protect my life,” wrote Tam.
He told the investors to go to the company so they could recover their initial investments and he would then declare bankruptcy. The investors, however, noted that the company’s office was now empty.
According to a more recent VNExpress article, however, Tam, who hadn’t been in contact with anyone, uploaded a 44-second video on Telegram. He mentioned to his viewers that he was receiving medical treatment and claimed that he would soon return the investor funds.
“You will have your money, thank you for your cooperation, I did not run or go anywhere, I will come back soon,” said Tam.
Of course, this conflicts with the tone of Tam’s note on Facebook. A manager at Sky Mining, Bien Hoa, said that he had seen Tam’s video but had not been given any indication that Tam was coming back or that mining operations would resume.
At this point, it remains to be seen whether or not investors will receive their money. Unhashed will update this story as new developments proceed.
Vietnam Caught in $658 Million Cryptocurrency Scam
Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time a tech company in Vietnam was exposed to be a cryptocurrency Ponzi Scheme. The IT Firm known as Modern Tech, located in District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, was responsible for two ICO scams that cost Vietnamese investors $650 million.
According to Fortune, one of the scams was known as Pincoin, a cryptocurrency for the “sharing economy,” while the other token, known as iFan, was supposed to become the “most advanced social network.” TechCrunch reported that approimately 32,000 people were scammed from the Vietnamese cryptocurrency company.