Three people associated with notorious OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova have appeared in a German court. They will be facing charges over their alleged roles in a multibillion-dollar fraud operation.
The associates of the famous “Cryptoqueen” fugitive businesswoman are accused of money laundering, fraud, and banking crimes.
One man, a Munich lawyer who worked for Ignatova, is alleged to have transferred €20 million ($19.7 million) via the Cayman Islands. The money was used to buy two apartments in London on her behalf. The other two defendants are a husband and wife, who are accused of handling €320 million ($314.72 million) of customer money.
Prosecutors said that the now-infamous OneCoin was a scam designed to make customers believe they were investing in a cryptocurrency. The value was determined by market mechanisms. In reality, they told the court, the coin’s value was fake and the mining process was simulated by software.
The proceedings in Germany represent some of the first actions taken in Europe against people alleged to have been involved in the ruse.
Where is the Cryptoqueen?
The whereabouts of Ignatova, who set up OneCoin in 2014, have been unknown since 2017. Earlier this year, she landed on both Europol’s and the FBI’s most wanted lists. The Missing Cryptoqueen, has become a notorious figure in the crypto space and beyond.
In August, a British judge approved the extradiction to the United States of another of her alleged accomplices, Christopher Hamilton. Meanwhile, Ignatova’s brother Konstantin Ignatov, who took over the business after she disappeared from the public eye, pled guilty in 2019 to fraud and money laundering in relation to OneCoin.
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