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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Egypt Arrests Dozens of Suspected Online Cryptocurrency Scams.

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Egyptian authorities have reportedly arrested 29 people, including 13 foreigners, for carrying out an online cryptocurrency scam that defrauded thousands of investors, according to state media. The network has pocketed about $620,000 at the expense of victims in a country now reeling from the economic crisis and rapid inflation, a report said Sunday. Trading cryptocurrencies in Egypt is illegal and punishable by imprisonment and fines of up to $325,000.

Authorities said the network was planning to launch a new platform called “Riot” when they were arrested. The interior ministry said 16 Egyptians and “13 foreign nationals of the same country”, who were not identified, had been arrested. Officials also seized 95 mobile phones, 3,367 SIM cards and 41 foreign bank cards, it said. Egypt is suffering one of its worst-ever economic crises. Since March 2022, Egypt’s pound has depreciated by nearly half its value against the US dollar. An acute dollar shortage has suppressed imports and caused a backlog of goods at ports, with a knock-on effect on local industry.

Inflation rose to 25.8% in January, the highest in five years, according to official data. The prices of many staples are rising much faster. About 30% of the population was classified as poor before the COVID-19 outbreak, according to official data, but analysts say the number has increased since. Almost 60% of Egypt’s 104 million population is estimated to live below or near the poverty line.

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