The creator of the fake crypto OneCoin is being hunted by the FBI

Ruja Ignatova, nicknamed “the queen of cryptos”, is now on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. She is suspected of extorting billions of dollars from her victims.

The FBI has just updated the list of the ten most wanted fugitives. to be below “Most wanted” now Ruja Ignatova appears. This 42-year-old Bulgarian entrepreneur created OneCoin, a fake cryptocurrency sold to hundreds of thousands of investors. The vaporized sums are counted in billions of dollars. The FBI promises a $100,000 reward anyone who can provide information to locate and arrest Ruja Ignatova.

This FBI release follows a similar announcement from Interpol. Last May, Interpol issued a “red notice” reporting that Ruja Ignatova was now wanted by all police forces in her network, which links 195 countries around the world. This “red notice” itself stems from an investigation conducted in Germany into the OneCoin affair.

The new bitcoin

The noose tightens around Ruja Ignatova. The charismatic entrepreneur, holder of a PhD in law from the University of Oxford and a former advisor to McKinsey, created OneCoin in 2014. This new “revolutionary” cryptocurrency was then to replace bitcoin. In reality, OneCoin is not a cryptocurrency. It is not listed on any exchange platform. It is not based on blockchain technology, which is the foundation of every crypto project. And when investors want to get their stake back, they systematically hit a wall. And for good reason: their money has flown into the pockets of OneCoin makers and countless local resellers.

Ruja Ignatova’s stroke of genius is about a vast network of sellers of this fake financial product† For this she called on the largest specialists in network marketing. This sales technique encourages buyers to become reseller themselves in order to earn a commission on the sale of products. In the case of OneCoin, this sales pattern can be compared to a ponzi scheme† When buyers wanted to withdraw their money, the pyramid structure started to crumble.

Disturbing disappearance

At the end of 2017, when the first cracks appeared, Ruja Ignatova simply disappeared from circulation. There are two hypotheses circulating. The first: she was murdered. She allegedly mixed with organized crime to launder the colossal sums collected by her fraudulent company. Things would have gone wrong, she would have been eliminated.



“Our preferred hypothesis is that Ruja Ignatova is sailing in the Mediterranean region, especially in Bulgaria.”

Jamie Bartlett

BBC journalist, author of the book “The missing Crypto Queen” (Ed. WH Allen)

Second hypothesis: she has changed her identity. She would hide under a false name and would have changed her face thanks to plastic surgery. Journalist Jamie Bartlett, who has been researching the OneCoin scam for the BBC for years, believes this second hypothesis the most plausible† He has just published a book on the subject, The Missing Crypto Queen (Ed. WH Allen). “Our best guess is that she sails in the Mediterranean, especially in Bulgaria,” explains Jamie Bartlett. A source of Bulgarian descent, active in Brussels in the crypto community, also told us about his belief that: Ruja Ignatova is currently in Bulgaria

Following the trail of the creator of OneCoin, Jamie Bartlett managed to create his . to find $6.9 million yacht, located in Sozopol, in eastern Bulgaria. He also identified a house in Dubai where Ruja Ignatova is said to have spent part of her run, with his brother Konstantin Ignatov. The latter, who took over the reins of the company OneCoin from his sister, is currently imprisoned in the United States, where he is being prosecuted for fraud and money laundering. He pleads guilty and faces several decades in prison. His verdict is expected in August.

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billions of dollars

According to the FBI investigation, victims of the OneCoin scam have invested (at least) $4 billion into this fraudulent product. They got nothing back.

The FBI investigation has shed light on the magnitude of the OneCoin scam. The researchers estimate the amount of the amounts paid by the victims over $4 billion. This is a low estimate, based on internal OneCoin records that only cover some of the years in which the scam was committed. By certain Jamie Bartlett estimates, we’d be closer to $15 billion.

The Belgian track leads to Laurent Louis

Hundreds of thousands of victims have invested their money in this fraudulent product. Belgium is no exception to the rule. In our country, the main dealer of OneCoin is: former federal deputy Laurent Louiswas elected at the time on the lists of the People’s Party of Mischäel Modrikamen.

After his sole mandate in the House (2010-2014), Laurent Louis switched to the sale of dubious financial products. Taking advantage of his fame gained as a surrogate with conspiratorial and anti-system speeches, he started promoting OneCoin in his community in 2016. He managed to collect a network of up to 2,500 investors† In the heart of the health crisis, Laurent Louis continued to promote this fraudulent investment, as evidenced by the research podcast “OneCoin, the Network” (Trends-Tendances).

The ex-deputy turned seller of fake cryptocurrency is nevertheless under the influence of a judicial investigation into the OneCoin file† It was opened on March 16, 2017 at the Charleroi public prosecutor’s office. More than five years later, the investigation is still ongoing, confirmed the prosecutor handling the case. We still don’t know if the case will be closed without further action or if Laurent Louis and his possible accomplices will one day be referred to a criminal court.

Laurent Louis, for his part, no longer openly promotes financial products on his social networks. But we found his trail on Telegram messages† There is a live group with over 800 members. His biography is intriguing: “Laurent Louis. Former MP. Political analyst. Cryptocurrency trainer.”

The summary

  • The creator of OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.
  • She is suspected of operating a massive cryptocurrency scam involving several billion dollars.
  • In Belgium, OneCoin’s main reseller, former deputy Laurent Louis, is the subject of a five-year judicial investigation.

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