Early Thursday morning the 7th of March 2019 saw the peace disturbed in central old-town Vilnius as police entered the first floor Slusnys apartment where he lives with his wife Erika Purauskytė and arrested Pranas Slusnys for money laundering and embezzlement of funds in his role as CEO of the Miner One ICO SCAM.
Photoshopped photos, blockchain blunders, power and mining anomalies, removing information from the internet, key players trying to cover-up their involvement and other deception from Pranas set the wheels in motion for his eventual arrest in what is potentially a $6,000,000+ elaborate scam.
The evidence gathered to date was strong however finding the location would confirm suspicions and guarantee the interest of local law enforcement. On the 30th of January 2019 still images from the Facebook live videos were analysed by a small group of investors and the same day a possible location was checked and the containers found, the results where kept quiet from the group whilst another smaller group was formed to discuss the ramifications of the discovery which are detailed in Containergate Exposed – the Miner One Lie.
The Financial Crime Investigation Service of Lithuania (FNTT) was contacted and in early February an investigation was underway with information being supplied as more data was analysed to bolster the evidence supplied to date which mainly concentrated on the containers.
Pranas Slusnys claimed that 12 containers were built and 4620 Bitmain S9i and S9j ASIC miners were purchased, this was not the case as the two containers being built for the Facebook live videos were part of an elaborate hoax which were discarded unfinished as soon as the last video in August 2018 was filmed.
The takeaway from this is that there are only a handful of Bitmain S9 miners that were purchased but it is not known where these are at the moment, the containers were never finished and had been left to rust unprotected from the elements, there never was any mining, there was no move to the Ukraine and everything that Pranas Slusnys has promised has been false.
Later in February 2019 Pranas had the containers removed as these were the only physical evidence of his fraud, what he didn’t realise that the containers were under surveillance and the new location is known and more will be revealed on this in the next update.
Many questions have arisen from this evidence, who else at Miner One knew about this deception? It is certain that any staff that were there after August would have known about the deception and played a key role in maintaining this and it is likely that some staff before August also knew. The staff that claimed the first batch of 770 miners had arrived knew they hadn’t, the staff that claimed that the second batch of 3850 miners had arrived and that the containers were being fitted out when none of this ever occurred. Who performed the photoshopping? Staff that were onsite during the container builds cannot deny involvement, they are there in video and have confirmed later that containers are completed and the ASICs are mining. Who else knew about the Miner One Scam?
A number of contacts inside Bitmain confirmed in February 2019 that these miners had never been ordered in these quantities to Lithuania or surrounding areas either direct or via brokers. Customs in Vilnius never saw consignments of the size required to deliver 770 miners let along 3850 and it’s likely that Pranas Slusnys ordered between 80 and 160 based on analysis of the video provided by Miner One in Containergate II. This is also backed up by the boxes that Pranas is seen unboxing having address labels and courier stickers on them, Bitmain miners ordered in large quantities are delivered on pallets and the boxes only have a packing on the outside, there are no address labels nor courier labels.
Financial Figures sent out by Miner One on February the 4th claimed the following expenditure on Mining Hardware.
First Batch | $866,830
- 2 x Mining containers & installation at $53,420 each totalling $106,840
- 770 x Bitmain S9i ASIC miners at $987 each totalling $759,990
Second Batch | $2,614,250
- 10 x Mining containers & installation at $52,755 each totalling $527,550
- 3850 x Bitmain S9j ASIC miners at $542 each totalling $2,086,700
On top of this there was also rent on the land charged, insurance and security which totalled another USD $10,450.
No mining ever took place in these containers, they hooked up the small number of ASIC miners and ran them from extension cords for the purpose of the video, the location where the containers are located has insufficient power to power the number of miners claimed. Earlier investigations into the Blockchain raised many more questions about the conduct of Pranas Slusnys and other key staff as do the provided figures on mining and power usage which are just a fabrication like the Miner One ICO.
Looking at all the information it is clear that Miner One was likely never a legitimate ICO, Pranas Slusnys planned an elaborate hoax that went to the lengths of staging container builds and through careful video editing and photoshopping tried to conceal their criminal behaviour. The questions that need to be answered are how many staff knew about and participated in this crime, there has been conduct that included removing information from the Internet and some of the key players have tried to distance themselves through various methods including editing documents.
Miner One is not the end of the these ICOs, there are many more including the closely linked Golder Games which has some of the same key staff that has just entered the final stages of their elaborate exit scam. Golder Games raised over $12,000,0000 that is unaccounted for, Miner One which raised around half that amount that is also unaccounted for. Both Golder Games and Miner One were setup in the UAE which they will say is for tax reasons but one of the reasons many setup there is the strict security around identifying the owners of companies. Miner One FZE we know is owned by Pranas Slusnys but Golder Games is an unknown, I have my suspicions as to the identity of the owner and hope to have some information on this soon.
Blockchain analysis has found many links to other ICOs and these are being explored in detail but requires substantial resources and time to gather the information to present to the authorities.
Jonas Udris released a statement hours after this story broke and Pranas Slusnys followed on the 14th of March at 14:00 GMT+2.
This article will be updated over the following days with more on the Miner One CEO and owner Pranas Slusnys.
Other media outlets covering this story
FinTelegram | Miner One! Another ICO Founder Arrested!
DELFI | Crypto-hangover: An incredible story of how Lithuanians transported cash mines to Eastern Ukraine (Lithuanian)
Verslo Zinios | The FTT investigates potential cryptographic business fraud (Lithuanian)
Diena | FNTT investigates possible cryptographic business fraud
15min | Cryptovut’s “miners” received FNTT attention – suspicions of fraud