Bulgaria to Press Charges Against Fugitive ‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova

Ruja Ignatova with crypto symbols and legal scales

Bulgaria is set to press charges against Ruja Ignatova, the notorious ‘Cryptoqueen’ who co-founded the OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme, which defrauded investors of over $4 billion. Ignatova has been on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list since 2022 for fraud and money laundering.

Key Takeaways

  • Bulgaria will press charges against Ruja Ignatova in absentia.
  • Ignatova co-founded OneCoin, a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme.
  • The FBI is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to her arrest.
  • OneCoin defrauded investors of over $4 billion.
  • Co-founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood was sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison.

Background

Ruja Ignatova, a Bulgarian-born German citizen, has been a fugitive since October 2017. She disappeared after traveling from Sofia to Athens, following charges in a New York court and a federal warrant for her arrest. Ignatova founded OneCoin in 2014, a company that promised high returns on cryptocurrency investments but turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

The Charges

Bulgarian authorities, in collaboration with the FBI, will charge Ignatova in absentia. This move will initiate the process of confiscating her illegally acquired assets. Chief Prosecutor Borislav Sarafov announced the joint investigation, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation in bringing Ignatova to justice.

The Scheme

OneCoin operated as a multi-level marketing scheme, where participants were encouraged to recruit others to purchase cryptocurrency packages. The scheme is estimated to have defrauded at least 3.5 million victims, pulling in over $4 billion in its first two years. The FBI has described it as one of the largest global fraud schemes in history.

Legal Actions

  • Karl Sebastian Greenwood: Co-founder of OneCoin, sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison and ordered to forfeit $300 million.
  • Former Head of Legal and Compliance: Sentenced to four years in U.S. prison in April.

Reward for Information

The U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, Kenneth Merten, announced a new reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest. This reward aims to support Bulgarian authorities in their efforts to apprehend her.

Conclusion

The charges against Ruja Ignatova mark a significant step in the global effort to combat cryptocurrency fraud. With international cooperation and substantial rewards for information, authorities hope to bring the ‘Cryptoqueen’ to justice and recover the assets stolen from millions of investors.

Sources

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