The infamous “crypto queen”, Dr. Ruja Ignatova once again climbed into the crosshairs of her law enforcement agencies as her German authorities put her on her Europe’s most wanted list.
Europol, the European Union law enforcement partner, is offering a €5,000 reward for information that arrested Ignatova on charges of fraud that solicited investment in “valueless money” OneCoin.
Ignatova is accused of leading the Ponzi scam behind the so-called virtual currency “OneCoin”, which had earned nearly 5 billion euros from investors in more than 170 countries by the end of 2007.
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After the OneCoin Ponzi scheme was exposed in 2017, Ignatova flew to Athens and hasn't been seen since. (Daily Advent)
Europol’s Most Wanted Crypto Fugitive
Ignatova, a 41-year-old fugitive, started the OneCoin project in mid-2014 and marketed it to investors as the “Bitcoin Killer” of the future.
Like many Ponzi scams like Arbistar and Bitconnect, Ignatova fled with billions of dollars in danger.
After it was revealed in 2017 that OneCoin was a Ponzi scam, Ignatova boarded a flight to Athens and has not been seen since.
OneCoin is considered one of the biggest scams in crypto history and is the inspiration for the BBC radio series “The Missing Crypto Queen.”
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Over 3 million customers of fake coins
At the peak of its popularity, OneCoin claimed to have over 3 million subscribers worldwide.
In 2019, U.S. prosecutors in the Southern District of New York indicted OneCoin’s leader on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. These include Ignatova, her brothers Konstantin Ignatova and Mark Scott.
Ignatova toured the world to promote OneCoin, urging individuals to invest, take cryptocurrency trading training courses and earn commissions to recruit new investors.
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illegal pyramid scheme
Despite all the promises, the actual results were far less attractive. First of all, OneCoin did not have a blockchain to operate. In other words, the coins were not actively traded and there was no payment system to support them, so they could not be used for purchases.
The Italian antitrust authorities received an injunction in December 2016 against One Network Services Ltd (OneCoin) for operating as an “illegal pyramid selling system”. However, corporate accounts from other parts of the world were not blocked until 2017.
Europol added that OneCoin has caused billions of dollars of damage worldwide, and that Ignatova and her colleagues may be armed and anyone ready to help the authorities should exercise great caution.
Featured image from Daily Advent, chart from TradingView.com