Bulgarian ‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova is not only on Europol’s list but is also one of the top ten most wanted by the FBI- who are offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to her arrest.
Dr Ignatova, 42, is accused of using her OneCoin cryptocurrency as a multi-level marketing scam to target investors worldwide between 2014 and 2018.
Investigators believe Ignatova was tipped off in 2017 after a U.S. District Court in New York issued a warrant for her arrest, leading the alleged scammer to travel to Greece and disappear.
Dubbed the ‘Cryptoqueen,’ Ignatova, a lawyer, co-founded OneCoin in 2014 as the ‘Bitcoin killer,’ luring investors to purchase packages of her cryptocurrency.
Investigators said that a key part of her business model was to push investors into selling additional packages of OneCoin to friends and family, which was essentially a pyramid scheme to pay out those at the top.
‘Ignatova targeted individuals who may not have fully understood the ins and outs of cryptocurrencies but were moved by Ignatova’s impressive resume and the marketing strategies used by OneCoin,’ the FBI said in its statement.
Bulgarian-born Ignatova is only the 11th woman to have been placed on the FBI’s most wanted list in its 72-year history.
She is also wanted in Germany through an Interpol Red Notice, which warns that she may have surgically changed her appearance in order to avoid capture.
Investigators said she was living in luxury before travelling to Sofia, Bulgaria after a warrant was issued for her arrest on October 12, 2017.
She was then reported travelling from Sofia to Athens, Greece on October 25 and has not been seen since.
Authorities believe she could be travelling with a fake German passport to the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Russia, Germany, Greece or Eastern Europe.
At the height of OneCoin’s popularity, Ignatova took the stage at the UK’s Wembley Arena, where she celebrated her success and touted that her cryptocurrency would overtake Bitcoin.