Ruja Ignatova, also known as the CryptoQueen and the co-founder of the infamous OneCoin, continues to run from authorities as victims of her alleged Ponzi scheme file lawsuits in the federal courts in New York.
On April 27, 2021, the Cryptocurrency Resolution Trust sued “onecoinico.io.” The lawsuit suggests that the CryptoQueen may have taken 230,000 bitcoin with a total value of $10 billion.
Documents from the British Indian Ocean Territory Supreme Court back up the claim. They imply that the bitcoin obtained by Ignatova comes from Sheik Saoud of Dubai.
Saoud’s father is one of the wealthiest people in Dubai. Reports suggest that he bought OneCoin’s assets in October 2015 in exchange for the 230,000 bitcoin, which was then worth $50 million.
What we know so far about the CryptoQueen
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Ruja Ignatova dubbed herself as the CryptoQueen when cryptocurrency started to gain traction from the masses. Along with convicted fraudster Sebastian Green, she started OneCoin in 2014.
Ironically, Ignatova has a doctorate in European Private Law from the University of Konstanz in 2005. But instead of becoming a legal scholar, she went the opposite way and built a fraudulent scheme that involves multi-level marketing and other alleged scams.
She will most likely be associated with the biggest scam in the history of cryptocurrency.
Before OneCoin, Ignatova was tied to another MLM scheme focusing on a cryptocurrency called BigCoin. And in 2012, she was convicted of fraud in Germany concerning a company she acquired that declared bankruptcy under suspicious circumstances.
OneCoin and the alleged Ponzi scheme
OneCoin was supposed to rival the already popular bitcoin, hence, the reference as the bitcoin killer. Ignatova even held conferences boasting on the image they project for OneCoin.
However, the firm was big in words and came short with matching actions as they did not employ blockchain technology. Instead, they utilized MLM to attract wealthy investors in a get-rich-quick scheme. They were encouraged to invite friends and family for a commission.
Authorities have sensed something was off right from the beginning, where OneCoin was doubling its marketing strategies.
In 2015, Bulgaria’s Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) released several warnings about cryptocurrency firms like OneCoin. The following year, other countries like Norway, Sweden, Croatia, Latvia, Italy, Hungary, and more warned investors about OneCoin.
Hiding from the FBI
Even as regulators noticed the criminal activities within OneCoin, it was only in 2017 that India formally indicted CryptoQueen Ruja Ignatova on the grounds of conning her investors.
Employees of OneCoin were arrested, and the organization collapsed as Ignatova stepped down as CEO and went to hiding.
Ruja’s brother, Konstantin Ignatova, was arrested following his take-over of OneCoin. He later pleads guilty to fraud and money laundering. The company’s lawyer Mark Scott was also convicted in federal court for laundering $400 million.
Charges against Ignatova reached the US in 2019 for securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
The CryptoQueen is still running from the FBI. Her last public appearance was in 2017.