Ruja Ignatova added to Europe's most wanted list as search for missing 'Cryptoqueen' widens

Quick Take

  • Founder of cryptocurrency scam OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, has been added to Europe’s most wanted list.
  • Europol is offering a 5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
     

Ruja Ignatova, the founder of Ponzi scheme OneCoin, has been added to Europe's list of most wanted fugitives as of Wednesday.

Ignatova is known for being the head of OneCoin, one of the biggest scams in the history of crypto, and the basis of the BBC podcast series, “The Missing Cryptoqueen.”

She has now been added to Europol’s most wanted list, with officials saying she's suspected of being the “driving force and intellectual inventor” of OneCoin, which "induced investors all over the world to invest in this actually worthless currency.” 

OneCoin’s business was built on selling educational cryptocurrency trading packages to its members, who were incentivized with commissions to sell to yet more new members. OneCoin claimed its membership was as large as 3 million people during the peak of the scheme, including victims across the globe. 

As a result, US prosecutors in the Southern District of New York charged the leaders of OneCoin with wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering in 2019. This included Ruja Ignatova and Konstantin Ignatov, her brother, as well as Mark Scott.

Konstantin Ignatov was arrested in March 2019 while Scott was arrested in September 2018, however Ruga Ignatova remains at large. 

The addition of Ignatova to Europe’s most wanted list and the cash reward of €5,000 (about $5,250) for information on her head widens the scope of the search and increases the likelihood that she will be brought to justice.

Scott was found guilty by a federal jury in Manhattan in 2019 while Ignatov signed a plea deal in the same year which meant he would not face further criminal charges. 


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