According to a Sept. 15 report by local news outlet Inquirer.net, agents from the Bureau of Immigration, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Police’s Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group raided the offices of Grapefruit Services Inc. in Pasig City on Sept. 11.
Authorities reportedly received a tip from the Chinese Embassy, which claimed that the firm had already defrauded thousands of investors in mainland China.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that the Chinese government canceled the passports of all the employees, which made them illegal workers in the Philippines. Officials arrested 277 employees of the firm, all of whom are Chinese nationals.
Special economic zone
An unnamed source told Inquirer.net that Grapefruit is an authorized service provider of Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd., which operates under a special license from the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
CEZA — a government-owned corporation — oversees the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, which is a special economic area in the north of the country. Also known as the Cagayan Freeport, the zone aims to attract foreign and local investment. The Philippine government began allowing cryptocurrency firms to operate there in April 2018.
Inquirer.net states that the firm was operating outside of the designated zone, and thus had run afoul of Philippine financial regulations.
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