OneCoin CryptoQueen Ruja Ignatova linked to Bulgarian crime lord Taki

    Ruja Ignatova, the notorious “cryptoqueen” behind the $4.5 billion OneCoin Ponz, has been linked to the Bulgarian underworld.  According to a BBC report, Ignatova is believed to have links to Hristoforos Nikos Amanatidis, also known as Taki.

    Taki, a nefarious figure in the world of organised crime in Bulgaria, allegedly protected Ignatova.  In Bulgaria, Taki is reputed to be akin to notorious figures like El Chapo or Pablo Escobar, yet he has evaded prosecution.

    Ruja Ignatova backed by Taki?

    The connection between the two was first suggested by U.S. government lawyers in 2019.

    At the time, without revealing a name, it was revealed that the cryptoqueen was under the protection of a Bulgarian crime boss. 

    Recent investigations conducted by the BBC’s Eye and Panorama teams, however, have reinforced these claims.

    According to the report, leaked Europol documents have linked Taki and Ignatova before she disappeared in 2017. The leaks suggest Taki may have leveraged OneCoin’s financial network to launder funds from a drug trafficking ring.

    Former deputy minister Ivan Hristanov has previously suggested that Taki’s influence is significant, backed by corrupt networks.

    Richard Reinhardt, an investigator for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, adds that Taki and Ignatova’s connections are more “sophisticated” than what people realize.

    Protector turned aggressor

    Reinhardt described it as “a white-collar criminal combined with a drug trafficker or mafia guy on steroids.” He suggested that Taki might have started to view Ignatova as a liability, adding:

    “There’s no honour among thieves… knowing how violent cartels are, if [Taki] thought she was a threat to him… he would probably take her out instead of getting caught.” 

    Claims of Ignatova’s connections to Taki have also been backed by Frank Schneider, another associate of Ignatova and a former spy. Schnider had revealed that his boss had been working with “crooks” and “gangsters.”

    He even suggested that her protectors might have turned on her. 

    A police informant has also reported overhearing that Ignatova was allegedly murdered and disposed of in the Ionian Sea on Taki’s orders. The theory has been supported by some of Taki’s criminal associates.

    Surprisingly, Schneider mysteriously disappeared in May 2023 following his interview with the BBC. He was under house arrest at the time, facing extradition to the U.S.

    At the time of publication, the cryptoqueen remains on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $250,000 reward for information.

    According to Reinhardt, this suggests there has been no “definitive proof” of Ignatova’s death. As such, the investigation into the OneCoin scam continues.

    Launched in 2014, OneCoin promised investors guaranteed returns. However, the investment later turned out to be a pyramid scheme, raking in $3 billion in profits between 2014 and 2016.

    Previously, OneCoin’s former head of legal and compliance was sentenced in April to four years in prison. Karl Sebastian Greenwood, co-founder of the scheme, was sentenced to 20 years in jail in September 2023

    Meanwhile, Konstantin Ignatov, the cryptoqueen’s brother, pleaded guilty in 2019 to his role in the scam. He has been cooperating with the FBI since. 

    The post OneCoin CryptoQueen Ruja Ignatova linked to Bulgarian crime lord Taki appeared first on Invezz

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