Cape Town - In an attempt to discredit the media and the SA government, a website appearing to be of MMM SA published a fake apology from News24 for “blackmailing” the scheme.
MMM SA on its membership joining page declares in an article published on April 20 that the South African government admits that MMM is not a scam. “The government and media in the past weeks ran some nasty allegations against MMM South Africa,” it reads.
In the fake apology unknown journalist "Rodolf Van der Merve" supposedly said: "I hope the public will be able to accept my apology. i didn’t look all the facts before publishing those news articles about MMM."
News24 editor Adriaan Basson slammed the "apology" as openly misleading the public and “a poor, scandalous attempt” to make people believe the scheme is legitimate.
“Fin24 [News24's business publication] will never apologise for warning the public against any dubious money making schemes.
"The 'apology' is patently false and we have instructed our lawyers to demand a retraction and apology. It is understandable that people who have benefited from the alleged ponzi scheme will be upset by our efforts to unearth the true character of MMM. Our duty is to expose the truth, not to cover-up an unraveling myth," said Basson.
The MMM website further claims the media is in cahoots with the banking industry to crush MMM.
"The banks paid the media houses R3 million according to a long time banking insider to throw dirt on MMM at any chance they get," the website stated.
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An investigation into whether MMM is breaching any laws in South Africa has become a priority, according to the Hawks.
The Hawks said its probe into MMM will advance from the cybercrime and digital forensic laboratory to the Commercial Crime Unit, following an initial review of the scheme by the National Consumer Commission in 2015.
One of its offerings, MMM Republic of Bitcoin, shut down this month after failing to give a promised 100% return on investment to its members.
Meanwhile, members of MMM SA have made a High Court application in Pretoria to get clarity on whether MMM is a Ponzi and or pyramid scheme.
The members said in a statement that it is “absolutely confident that the court will declare that the MMM community is not a multiplication or pyramid scheme as defined by the Consumer Protection Act”.
“It is the hope of the MMM-RSA community that both the media as well as the NCC will allow the court process to run its course so that, in the interest of justice, the court may provide clarity in this matter,” they said.
MMM SA calls itself "a community of ordinary people, selflessly helping each other" on its website. "The goal here is not the money. The goal is to destroy the world's unjust financial system."
Officially, MMM SA said its members are encouraged to donate money to or receive money from participating members by rewarding them with the bitcoin-linked virtual currency called Mavros. In return they are promised a 30% or more return on their rand investment.