In the same way that cryptocurrency adoption has increased worldwide, so have Ponzi scams and other scams related to the crypto ecosystem. OneCoin is one of the most obvious examples. However, Europol is focused on closing the case and putting its promoters in jail no matter how long it takes.
On May 11, Europol added Ruja Ignatova, the creator of the OneCoin Ponzi scheme, to its list of Europe’s most wanted fugitives, offering a reward of up to 5,000 euros to anyone who helps track her down.
Depending on the Europol informationIgnatova was wanted for fraud-related crimes that affected people’s financial interests in the European Union.
Ignatova has raised over 5 billion euros with OneCoin.
Ignatova is accused of leading the Ponzi scheme behind the so-called cryptocurrency “OneCoin”, which had raised around 5 billion euros from investors in more than 170 countries by the end of 2007.
Now runaway, Ignatova started the “OneCoin” project in mid-2014 and sold it to investors as the future “Bitcoin Killer”. But, as in many Ponzi schemes like Arbistar or Bitconnect, when Ignatova was in danger, she escaped with billions of dollars.
In December 2016, the Italian antitrust authorities issued an injunction against One Network Services Ltd. [OneCoin], describes the activity as an “illegal pyramid selling system”. But it wasn’t until 2017 that the company’s accounts were frozen around the world.
On the run for a billion euros
According to Europol, Ignatova’s whereabouts have not been known since October 25, 2017. This is said to have happened after she learned that her US government was investigating her. She disappeared shortly thereafter, and her brother Konstantin Ignatov (arrested in 2019) took over the project.
Europol also added that worldwide OneCoin losses are in the billions of dollars, and that Ignatova and her colleagues could potentially be armed and anyone trying to work with the authorities should be careful.
“Scam-related losses established so far are in the double-digit million range. Losses worldwide are probably in the billions of dollars.”
How did “OneCoin” work?
Onecoin operated on the basis of selling educational materials or bundles for between 100 and 118,000 euros in cryptocurrency trading. The bundle included “tokens” that investors could “mine” Onecoin.
However, mined “coins” were not accepted on any exchange other than the one provided by a company called Xcoinx. The exchange alarmed the community and eventually broke the entire Ponzi plan that had been running for several years.
Xcoinx does not allow the exchange of Onecoin for other currencies. Ignatova’s estate has not been scaled or restored.
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