MTFE swindled millions of dollars in Nigeria, Sri Lanka

MTFE logo

Before launching its operation in Bangladesh, multilevel marketing company Metaverse Foreign Exchange (MTFE) Group reportedly swindled large sums of money from citizens in Nigeria and Sri Lanka.

According to media reports, the MTFE tricked around USD 1 billion out of the people in Nigeria, while the deception earned them LNR 1 billion in Sri Lanka.

Following their ‘successful’ ventures in the two countries, the fraud company entered Bangladesh to ruin the people who dream to be rich overnight.

It is still unclear how much money exactly the multilevel company swindled from the people in Bangladesh. Thousands of people in different districts claimed to have lost money to the company.

Aktaruzzaman, a teacher of Biralakkhi Mohila Madrasah in Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira, told Prothom Alo that he had borrowed nearly Tk 250,000 and invested in the MTFE. He received some dollars in return through the company’s designated mobile app. However, he, like thousands others, found himself unable to encash the dollars from the app around two weeks ago.

Deception in Nigeria and Sri Lanka

A media outlet, namely Sahara Weekly, carried a report on 18 August with the title, “MTFE: Biggest ponzi scheme of the century shut down with over $1bn Investors’ funds”.

Citing a cryptocurrency exchange company, the report noted that the majority of victims hail from the country’s northern regions, serving as a grim reminder of the critical role that knowledge plays in safeguarding oneself against Ponzi schemes and fraudulent crypto projects.

Nigeria has previously witnessed some other instances of fraud related to Ponzi schemes. In September 2021, The Guardian of Nigeria reported that the people had collectively lost ₦ 300 billion over five years, equivalent to Tk 43 billion. It prompted the regulators to launch investigations into the company.

The scenario is quite similar in Sri Lanka as the company faced investigation there too. The MTFE onced sponsored the Lanka Prime minister League, a cricket tournament.

Also Read

The Sri Lanka Mirror reported on Tuesday that the MTFE is not registered in Sri Lanka and its operation is prohibited there. Still, the logo of MTFE was spotted on the jerseys of the LPL team Jaffna Kings, and their advertisements were displayed in the stadium.

The report also added that the MTFE had swindled LNR 1 billion from the people.

Understanding the MTFE

According to the MTFE clients, the company used to portray itself as an online entity involved in buying and selling shares, dollars, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The deceived clients in Bangladesh said the MTFE enticed investments through high returns on mobile phone apps. It used to collect money from the people, through its local agents, or mobile financial services. In return, the investors initially would receive virtual currency dividends within the app.

Eventually, the company shut down the app, leaving investors in a lurch.

Details about MTFE remain limited. Online searches revealed two articles about the company on Digital Journal, a global media platform based in Canada. One, published on 17 February, 2022, noted that MTFE was established in 2017 and that its CEO is Randy Matthew Lane.

Some more information about MTFE was found on a Canadian website called “Company Directory.” The details include business registration number, address, and duration of operation in Canada. The website lists two directors for MTFE -- Randy Matthew Lane and Hongbing Wang -- without detailing the information.

* The report has been rewritten in English by Misbahul Haque