Brother of the “Crypto Queen” admits participation in OneCoin fraud.
Konstantin Ignatov, the brother of the “Missing Crypto Queen” Ruja Ignatova, admitted his participation in the OneCoin cryptocurrency fraud. Ignatov pleaded guilty to several charges, including money laundering and fraud.
OneCoin and the disappearance of its cofounder, Ruja Ignatova, have been the subject of a series of BBC Sounds podcasts, “The Missing Crypto Queen”, presented by writer Jamie Bartlett. The researchers believe that as much as about 4 billion pounds (USD 5,160 million) were collected globally in what has been described as a Ponzi scheme.
The Bulgaria-based organization, responsible for OneCoin, continues its operations and has denied the illegal acts attributed to it.
Ignatov was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport in March. The indictee signed an agreement last October 4, which was made public on Tuesday, November 12, according to which Ignatov would not face additional criminal charges for his participation in OneCoin, beyond any tax violations that may arise.
The document notes that Ignatov’s cooperation with the authorities “could reveal activities of individuals who could have used violence” against him and against his family. This suggests that Ignatov could apply to a witness protection program and receive a new identity. He has not yet been sentenced, but faces up to 90 years in prison, for his role in fraud.
Keys of a disappearance
Ignatov has also testified at the trial of American lawyer Mark Scott, accused of laundering some of the income from OneCoin.
Scott is accused of diverting approximately USD 400 million (£ 310 million) outside the United States, and of trying to hide the true holder of the funds and their source. The lawyer faces a conspiracy charge for money laundering and another for committing bank fraud, although he has pleaded not guilty.
During that trial, Ignatov revealed more details about the disappearance of his sister, Ruja Ignatova. According to his testimony for the Inner City Press, Ignatova was living in Sofia, Bulgaria, before disappearing.
He confirmed that Ignatova had told him that OneCoin’s critics were “haters,” and that she was “very tired.” “She feared that someone close to her was going to hand her over to the FBI,” he said. He also said that Ingatova told him that he had a large passport in his possession and asked him to manage plane tickets to Vienna, Austria, and then to Athens, Greece.
Ignatov said he had not talked with his sister since his disappearance. He had hired a private investigator to find her, but his efforts were not satisfactory. The US government revealed that it expects Scott’s trial to end next week.
Jamie Bartlett, the podcast host “Crypto Queen Disappeared” presented an analysis stating that the document containing Ignatov’s agreement with the authorities represents a great relief for OneCoin critics.
“Those who were threatened with legal actions, for calling OneCoin a scam, now feel vindicated,” said the journalist, and then added:
“Even though I have spent so much time investigating this case, I am surprised that the brother will return in a manner so notorious against her sister.”
He added that “Ignatov seems to be suggesting that he was deceived by her.” and then affirm that there is nothing definitive about his whereabouts yet, although there are new clues.
According to Bartlett’s opinion, “This case will diminish the promotion of OneCoin, which is still maintained, but may not stop it completely. In the past, OneCoin promoters did not pay attention to criticism and evidence and rated them as motivated politically, or from haters. They may not repeat this attitude in the future. “
The researcher is not sure that the central office in Sofia remains open to business, although apparently it is like this: “I have seen some promoters who say they will continue with their work of dissemination about OneCoin.”
“For low-ranking investors, these could be difficult times, when they have to admit that they have been scammed and their money has been lost. It won’t be easy. ”He concluded.
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