Ruja Ignatova referred to herself as the Crypto Queen and she’s now back in the spotlight, at least sort of, when news about the sale of a posh London penthouse hogged the headlines.
Ignatova presented her company, OneCoin, as a profitable competitor to Bitcoin in the expanding cryptocurrency sector.
In June 2016, bitcoin was an emerging trend and investors were eager to capitalize. In October of 2017, Ignatova completely disappeared from public view.
That time, the 42-year old Bulgarian-born German citizen crypto entrepreneur was in the initial stages of what would become a $4 billion Ponzi scheme.
OneCoin was a phony cryptocurrency, and its founder, Ignatova, has been missing for five years and is currently on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. She is also one of Europe’s most sought fugitives.
Image credit: YLE
Penthouse Sale Gave Crypto Queen Away
When a luxurious London penthouse apartment was advertised as for sale on the market, it appeared that the “missing crypto queen” was organizing a sale from underground.
According to sources, a penthouse apartment in the London district of Kensington, England, was posted for sale some days ago for $15.5 million, then lowered to $13.6 million.
Senior prosecutor Gerald Ruebsam expects that the funds from the sale of the London penthouse may one day be used to repay the victims of OneCoin.
“It’s not clear yet whether money will go to OneCoin investors, we have to wait and see how things progress.”
Knight Frank, a Prestige dealer of luxury real estate, marketed the property but quickly removed the listing when it was discovered that Ignatova had ties to it.
Investigative reporter Jamie Bartlett said:
“It suggests she is still alive, and there are documents out there somewhere which contain vital clues as to her recent whereabouts.”
‘Idiots’ And ‘Insane’
Ignatova and her business partner Sebastian Greenwood deceived crypto fans by stating their cryptocurrency token OneCoin would be a “Bitcoin Killer.”
In 2016, when investors clapped and whistled, she stated, “In two years, nobody will discuss Bitcoin anymore.”
OneCoin is one of the largest worldwide fraud schemes ever perpetrated, federal officials said.
In a statement, IRS Special Agent John R. Tafur disclosed:
“The cryptocurrency OneCoin was established for the sole purpose of defrauding investors.”
Ignatova and Greenwood began promoting the fraudulent coin to potential investors in 2014, promising a return of between fivefold and tenfold.
They referred to their investors as “idiots” and “insane” at one point.
$100,000 Bounty For Crypto Queen
The Crypto Queen is now the only woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Crypto total market cap at $1 trillion on the weekend chart | Chart: TradingView.com
A note appears at the bottom of her FBI wanted poster:
“Ignatova is believed to travel with armed guards and/or associates. Ignatova may have had plastic surgery or otherwise altered her appearance.”
Sebastian Greenwood, co-founder of OneCoin, pled guilty in New York to fraud and money laundering charges in December 2022.
Meanwhile, authorities are dangling a $100,000 reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the Crypto Queen.
Featured image from The Telegraph