Bulgaria’s ‘Crypto Queen’ Ruja Ignatova added to FBI’s most-wanted checklist

A Bulgarian lady dubbed the “Crypto Queen” after she raised billions of {dollars} in a fraudulent digital foreign money scheme was positioned on the FBI’s 10 most needed checklist Thursday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation put up a $100,000 reward for Ruja Ignatova, who disappeared in Greece in October 2017 across the time US authorities filed a sealed indictment and warrant for her arrest.

The 42-year-old, who can be a German citizen, was behind one of the infamous scams within the continuously treacherous world of crypto currencies.

In 2014 she launched OneCoin, ostensibly aiming to exchange Bitcoin because the world’s main digital cash.

Tapping a worldwide community to market the coin to family and friends in trade for their very own payouts, she and co-conspirators pulled in not less than $3.4 billion and presumably over $4 billion, in accordance with courtroom paperwork.

Officers stated that OneCoin was not backed by any secured, impartial blockchain-type know-how as different crypto currencies are.

As a substitute, they stated, it was a traditional Ponzi scheme, by which early traders are inspired to search out others after which paid out by receipts from later traders.

“OneCoin claimed to have a non-public blockchain,” stated FBI Particular Agent Ronald Shimko in a press release.

“That is in distinction to different digital currencies, which have a decentralized and public blockchain. On this case, traders had been simply requested to belief OneCoin,” he stated.

Ignatova disappeared in 2017 as worldwide investigators started to shut in on her group.

“Investigators imagine Ignatova could have been tipped off that she was underneath investigation by US and worldwide authorities,” the FBI stated Thursday.

“She traveled from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece, on October 25, 2017, and has not been seen since.”

On Could 11, Europol introduced it had added Ignatova to its most needed checklist, and provided a 5,000 euro ($5,200) reward for data on her whereabouts.

However on Thursday she was not on the checklist. It was not clear why or when she got here off it, and authorities in Europe and the US haven’t proven proof of whether or not she is alive or useless.

Her brother Konstantin Ignatov was arrested at Los Angeles Worldwide Airport in March 2019, and later pleaded responsible to wire fraud in a take care of US authorities.

His sentencing has been delayed for what the Justice Division stated in courtroom filings was ongoing cooperation within the investigation.

One other associate, Sebastian Greenwood, was detained in Thailand in 2018 after which extradited to the US, the place he stays in jail awaiting trial.

One other confederate, US lawyer Mark Scott, was convicted in November 2019 of laundering $400 million for the group.

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