The FBI has added OneCoin co-founder Ruja Ignatova to its list of most wanted fugitives. The self-proclaimed ‘crypto queen’ is said to have earned hundreds of millions of dollars with her digital currency that, according to victims and American justice, was little more than a pyramid scheme.
OneCoin became very popular with investors in a short time after its inception in 2014. They were promised a cryptocurrency that would be cheaper and more secure than market leader Bitcoin. In 2016, Bulgarian Ignatova proudly appeared at an event at Wembley Stadium and traveled all over the world to attract investors. It is estimated that investors have invested almost 4 billion euros in OneCoin.
However, an investigation by the US police concluded that the company was “established solely to defraud investors”. Contrary to more common crypto coins, according to the American police, no transaction data was kept at OneCoin (via a so-called blockchain), so that the coin had no actual value.
Gone since 2017
Ignatova has not been seen in public since 2017. She traveled from Sofia to Athens and then she disappeared. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for anyone who has tips on the businesswoman’s current whereabouts.
The FBI’s Most Wanted List has been around for 72 years. The 42-year-old businesswoman is only the 11th woman on the list. The international police organization Interpol also issued a search notice.
Her brother Konstantin Ignatov, who co-owned OneCoin, was already arrested in 2019. He confessed to being guilty of bank fraud and money laundering and reached a settlement. He testified against attorney Mark Scott who is also said to have made many millions from the company. This lawyer was convicted in 2019 for money laundering of 400 million dollars. Ignatov may now be working with American justice on the case against his sister.