, 2022-07-02 16:18:24,
It is a mystery more perplexing than any airport thriller: how the woman behind one of the biggest and most blatant frauds in history could step off a plane in Greece and simply vanish. To those on the trail of Ruja Ignatova, the glamorous Bulgarian businesswoman known as the ‘Cryptoqueen’, it was as if she had simply disappeared into thin air – just like the £3.3 billion she stole from the estimated one million people worldwide who sunk money into OneCoin, her fake cryptocurrency.
When she vanished in Athens in 2017, Ignatova was being hunted by international crime-fighting agencies which said she had used OneCoin to pull off the financial scam of the century – a pyramid fraud matched only by Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme for its scale and audacity.
In 2019 she was charged on five counts, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. And on Thursday, she was placed on the FBI’s ‘10 Most Wanted’ list – becoming the only woman on it – with a $100,000 (£83,000) reward on offer for any information leading to her arrest.
It is by far the biggest escalation in the case. Asked why the hunt has suddenly been stepped up, an FBI spokesman said: ‘We think the public is in the best position to provide information about her whereabouts and activities.’
While rumours abound, the truth is that, since that October morning five years ago, no one has known for sure where Ignatova has been – or even whether she is still alive.
To those on the trail of Ruja Ignatova, the glamorous Bulgarian businesswoman known as the ‘Cryptoqueen’, it was as if she had simply disappeared into thin air
My theory is that she is living the high life on board a private superyacht bobbing around in the Mediterranean
However, following my four-year…
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