OneCoin founder Dr. Ruja Ignatova has disappeared from the public eye more than five years ago, but has turned up, linked to a London property filing.
The filing lists Ignatova as a so-called beneficial owner of Abbots House Penthouse Limited, a Guernsey-based company that purchased a penthouse worth millions of dollars in the London suburb of Kensington.
According to the filing, Ignatova was reportedly forced to assume ownership of the company due to laws involving overseas companies that took effect in the UK last year. The disclosure indicates that Ignatova has taken ownership of the penthouse through the company since May 2016.
Sources indicate that the property in question was recently put up for sale for $15.5 million, but then was reduced to $13.6 million. The listing has been taken down.
However, a report from the BBC points that the recent listing of the property can be traced back to prosecutors in the German city of Bielefeld, instead of from UK law officials, or the ‘Cryptoqueen’ herself.
Ignatova’s potential re-emergence from hiding comes after a long stint of going into hiding after fraud charges. After launching OneCoin in 2014, once dubbed the “Bitcoin killer” to investors, Ignatova’s crypto project was later revealed to be a Ponzi scheme.
Ignatova hasn’t been seen since fleeing to Athens, Greece from Bulgaria, where OneCoin was based.
A network for OneCoin was promised but never built, landing Ignatova on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list, and made her one of Europe’s most high-profile fugitives. Ignatova was alleged to dupe investors out of amounts as much as $5 billion in 2017.
Currently, the FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information that can lead to her arrest.
Since 2017, multiple individuals close to Ignatova have faced charges for helping Ignatova facilitate her scheme.
The most recent charge was from last month, where OneCoin co-founder Karl Sebastion Greenwood pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges in the Southern District Court of New York. Greenwood, also known as Ignatova’s ‘Crisis Manager’, has also been set to be extradited to the US on charges of wire fraud and money laundering.
US Attorney Damian Williams wrote in a statement that OneCoin was “marketed and sold a fraudulent cryptocurrency” that aimed to gain traction and scale internationally. The attorney also claimed that both Ignatova and Greenwood “conceived of and built the OneCoin business fully intending to use it to defraud investors.”
In his statement, Williams referenced an email from Greenwood, calling OneCoin investors “idiots” for believing in the project. Williams also adds that Ignatova had planned an “exit strategy” for OneCoin, where she suggested to “take the money and run and blame someone else for this.”
In 2019, OneCoin’s lawyer Mark Scott was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering in a US District Court in Manhattan. Ignatova’s brother Konstantin Ignatova was also found guilty of the same charges.
Ignatova’s associates have also found themselves in a pickle, facing charges of financial crimes in Germany. German prosecutors have alleged that OneCoin customers were tricked into believing that the token prices were determined by market mechanisms while the process was entirely faked, with the inclusion of software that simulated OneCoin mining.