US announce bounty for self-styled crypto queen Ruja Ignatova

Self-styled crypto queen Ruja Ignatova. Photo Courtesy: FBI website

The US State Department has announced a USD 5 million bounty for information on self-styled crypto queen and OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova.

She had vanished in Athens in 2017.

In a statement, the department said: “The Department of State is announcing a reward offer under the Transnational Organised Crime Rewards Programme of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of German national Ruja Ignatova, wanted in the United States for her participation in one of the largest global fraud schemes in history.”

Who is Ruja Ignatova?

Beginning in approximately 2014 in Bulgaria, Ignatova, as co-founder of OneCoin Ltd, and others defrauded investors from across the world out of billions of dollars.

Ignatova promoted OneCoin as a digital currency investment through false statements and representations to attract investors.  

By 2017, OneCoin is believed to have defrauded victims of more than $4 billion.

On October 12, 2017, Ignatova was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Two weeks after the indictment, Ignatova travelled from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece, to evade arrest and has been a fugitive since that time.  

In February 2018, a superseding indictment was issued charging Ignatova with the additional crimes of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. In 2022, she was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List.  

Germany has also criminally charged Ignatova for her role in the transnational fraud scheme.