With the whereabouts of Ruja Ignatova still unknown, three associates of the infamous “crypto queen” have appeared before a German court. The three associates faced the court on October 18 for charges of money laundering, fraud, and other banking-related criminal activities.
One of the associates, a Munich-based lawyer, allegedly transferred $19.7 million on behalf of Ignatova through the Cayman Islands to acquire properties in London. The other two associates, a couple are facing charges for managing over $300 in payments from OneCoin customers.
While Ignatova is still missing, it’s worth mentioning that the authorities have nabbed several members of the OneCoin leadership. For instance, David Pike, a key member of the Ponzi scheme was sentenced to two years of probation in March 2022.
Also, the authorities arrested Konstantin Ignatova, brother of Ruja Ignatova in 2019 at the Los Angeles Airport. Konstantin faces charges including wire fraud and money laundering offenses. Despite his cooperation, he could see up to 90 years in jail for his role as a co-leader of the scheme. His sentencing is scheduled for November 10, 2022, after it was postponed from the earlier date – August 10, 2022.
Similarly, Christopher Hamilton, another associate accused of laundering $105 million faces extradition to the US. His bid to halt the process was rejected in August 2022.
Crypto Queen is still at large
Despite several bounty rewards for information about her whereabouts Ruja Ignatova, the founder of OneCoin has remained under the radar.
Ignatova, aged 42 and known for her luxurious lifestyle last appeared in public in October 2017. She boarded a flight from Bulgaria to Greece after authorities issued a warrant for her arrest. The self-proclaimed crypto queen faces an eight-count charge including wire fraud and money laundering. She features on several most wanted lists including that of the FBI.
Founded in 2014, OneCoin was touted as Bitcoin (BTC) Slayer but was in fact a Ponzi scheme. The scheme operates as a multi-level marketing network that scammed over 3 million investors of over $4 billion.