Europol Declares OneCoin Founder Wanted Over Fraud
The developer of OneCoin cryptocurrency, Ruja Ignatova, has been declared wanted by the European security outfit Europol over fraud and money laundering charges. The security agency has placed a bounty reward on Ignatova, who went below the radar five years ago.
The “Crypto Queen” as called by her associates, was accused by the agency of encouraging investors to invest in cryptocurrency. Europol has pledged to pay $6,000 to anyone with any valuable information on the suspect’s whereabouts.
What is OneCoin?
Ruja Ignatova founded OneCoin in 2014 as a Bitcoin replacement. She labeled the coin as a “BTC killer” because it was more affordable and safer than the flagship asset. The marketing strategy lured many investors globally to invest in the coin.
However, it turned out that Ignatova’s claims were all pretense to swindle money from her investors because OneCoin was never blockchain-based. Reports revealed that OneCoin functioned as an MLM with members recruiting others.
The system was automatically set up to reward members for their recruitment efforts. It was later discovered that whole project was a Ponzi scheme. But, it was a bit late as Ignatova had already catered away with the funds, which she allegedly lavished to conceal herself from the public.
Ignatova vanished from the public eye in 2017. Based on gathered intelligence, her last appearance was in Athens with some Russians after flying from Sofia, Bulgaria.
How Much Did Ignatova Cater Away With?
The figures are indefinite, but security agencies put the figure at approximately $90M. Some dispute the amount, saying the alleged suspect stole more.
The Federal Criminal Police, which issued the arrest warrant, said Ignatova and her accomplices could have stolen hundreds of billion USD. According to the New York District Court filings, the amount could revolve around $4B.
Pending the arrest of Ignatova, Europol arrested her brother Konstantin Ignatov in L. A. Ignatov became the OneCoin project’s enforcer following her sister’s disappearance. He was apprehended for wire fraud and virtual currency scams.
The FBI released a statement that Ignatov has been cooperating with the agency since his arrest to apprehend Ignatova. Based on his confessions, her sister has withdrawn $550 million from the stolen funds.
Reports suggest the wanted fraudster, a lawyer by profession, could have changed her appearance, considering the massive amount of money she is holding.
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