Bulgaria to lay charges, seize property of ‘cryptoqueen’ Ignatova

Bulgaria is to lay charges in absentia against OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova and take steps to confiscate property illegally acquired by her with funds from the OneCoin pyramid scheme, acting Prosecutor-General Borislav Sarafov said on June 26.

United States ambassador to Bulgaria Kenneth Merten, speaking at a joint news conference with Sarafov and State Agency for National Security head Plamen Tonchev, said that the US government was announcing a new reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest.

OneCoin, which began operations in 2014 and was based in Sofia, marketed and sold a fraudulent cryptocurrency by the same name through a global multi-level marketing (MLM) network.

The whereabouts of Ignatova, whose OneCoin Ponzi scheme is estimated to have fleeced the public of about $4 billion, have been unknown to authorities since October 2017 when she travelled from Sofia to Athens a few days after being charged in the US District Court, Southern District of New York and a federal warrant issued for her arrest.

On February 6 2018, a superseding indictment was issued charging Ignatova with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; wire fraud; conspiracy to commit money laundering; conspiracy to commit securities fraud; and securities fraud.

Merten told the news conference that Ignatova is wanted in the US and Germany for her involvement in one of the largest fraud schemes in history.

Ignatova has been on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives list since 2022.

There have been various claims in the media about Ignatova, one being that she has been murdered, while others have made various claims about her whereabouts, including the United Arab Emirates and Russia. It has been claimed that Ignatova has had cosmetic surgery to substantially alter her appearance.

On April 4 2024, it was announced that US District Judge Edgardo Ramos had sentenced Bulgarian national Irina Dilkinska to four years in prison for her role in the massive OneCoin fraud scheme.

In September 2023, Karl Sebastian Greenwood, who co-founded OneCoin with Ignatova, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his orchestration of the OneCoin scheme. In addition to his prison term, Greenwood, a citizen of Sweden and the United Kingdom, was ordered to pay approximately $300 million in forfeiture.

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