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£4M Reward Offered for Capture of ‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova, Mastermind Behind OneCoin Scam

US Authorities Intensify Global Hunt for Notorious Cryptocurrency Fraudster

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 5, 2024, 20:54:46

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In a significant escalation of efforts to apprehend Ruja Ignatova, notorious for her role in the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam, US authorities have increased the reward for information leading to her arrest to £4 million.
Ignatova, a Bulgarian-born German national, has been on the run since 2017 when she disappeared amid mounting investigations into her £3.3 billion fraud scheme.


Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US State Department, underscored the gravity of Ignatova's alleged crimes, labelling them as among "the largest global fraud schemes in history." The reward increase, part of the Transnational Organised Crime Reward Programme, reflects the seriousness with which US authorities are treating the case.
Ruja Ignatova, also known as the "Cryptoqueen," orchestrated one of the largest cryptocurrency scams in history through a fraudulent scheme known as OneCoin. Here are the detailed aspects of her alleged crimes:


Creation of OneCoin: Ignatova founded OneCoin in 2014, presenting it as a legitimate cryptocurrency akin to Bitcoin. However, unlike Bitcoin and other genuine cryptocurrencies that operate on blockchain technology, OneCoin operated on a centralised platform without a genuine blockchain.


False Promises and Pyramid Scheme: Ignatova and her associates aggressively promoted OneCoin, promising investors high returns and significant profits through its multi-level marketing structure. Investors were misled into believing that OneCoin held promising prospects and substantial market value, despite lacking any genuine technological basis or transparency.


Global Fraud: OneCoin was marketed globally, targeting investors across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The scheme allegedly defrauded investors of billions of dollars, with estimates suggesting losses exceeding $4.5 billion.


Legal and Regulatory Issues: As suspicions mounted and investigations intensified, authorities in numerous countries began scrutinising OneCoin. By 2017, investigations by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, uncovered the fraudulent nature of OneCoin, resulting in legal actions against Ignatova and her associates.


Ruja Ignatova's alleged crimes illustrate the risks associated with unregulated financial schemes and the importance of due diligence in investing, particularly in emerging sectors like cryptocurrency. Her case has underscored the need for stronger regulatory oversight and investor protection in the digital currency space.


Ignatova's case marks a rare instance where a woman has been targeted under the US reward programme, standing alongside high-profile targets like Daniel Kinahan, implicated in European drug cartels, Semion Mogilevich, an alleged Russia-based crime boss, and Yulan Adonay Archaga Carías, known as "Porky," a senior member of the MS-13 gang in Honduras.


The pursuit of Ignatova has garnered international attention, with legal experts noting the intricate legal challenges surrounding extradition and international cooperation in financial crime cases of this magnitude. Authorities continue to urge individuals with pertinent information on Ignatova's whereabouts or activities to come forward, emphasising the substantial reward as an incentive for cooperation.
The saga surrounding Ruja Ignatova, dubbed the "Cryptoqueen," underscores the complexities and international dimensions of modern financial crimes, resonating deeply within both the cryptocurrency community and law enforcement circles worldwide.

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