Dr. Ruja Ignatova, the OneCoin founder who disappeared after allegedly fleecing investors out of as much as $5 billion in 2017, was added to Europe's most wanted list on Wednesday.
Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, is offering a 5,000 Euro reward for information leading to Ignatova's arrest on fraud charges for having solicited investments for OneCoin, an "actually worthless currency."
Ignatova launched OneCoin in 2014, promising that it was a "Bitcoin killer." Over the next several years, she raised money from investors in 175 different countries. But when OneCoin was revealed to be a Ponzi scheme in 2017, she boarded a flight to Athens and has not been seen since.
OneCoin and Ignatova were the subject of a BBC Sounds Podcast, The Missing Cryptoqueen (which is now being adapted for TV). Documents leaked to the BBC revealed that British investors bought 30 million Euros worth of OneCoin in the first half of 2016. The BBC investigation also revealed that OneCoin didn't actually have a blockchain.
Ignatova has evaded law enforcement, but people connected to her and OneCoin have faced charges. In 2019, Mark Scott, OneCoin's lawyer, was found guilt of conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud by the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering before testifying against Scott in his trial. Scott is still awaiting sentencing.