$5 Million for the Lost Queen! FBI Spikes Bounty on Missing “Crypto Queen” Amid Seven-Year Manhunt

The elusive "Cryptoqueen" Ruja Ignatova remains at large post-OneCoin's $4 billion fraud, with the U.S. now offering a $5 million bounty for her capture amid rumors of her death.
Crypto Queen, Voice of Crypto 

Key Insights

  • Ruja Ignatova, the "Cryptoqueen," has been on the run since 2017, when the OneCoin Ponzi scheme collapsed.

  • OneCoin was marketed as the next Bitcoin but defrauded investors of around $4 billion.

  • There have been claims that Ignatova was either murdered or has faked her death.

  • The U.S. Department of State has raised the reward for information leading to Ruja Ignatova’s arrest to $5 million.

Is the crypto queen dead or alive? Is Ruja Ignatova—one of the infamous masterminds behind the OneCoin scam from 2017—dead in a ditch somewhere, or living in some remote part of the world under a different identity?

Despite rumours of her death, the U.S. Department of State recently bumped up the reward for information leading to the Crypto Queen’s arrest to a whopping $5 million!

After seven years in hiding, here's what the ongoing chase for Ignatova has become.

From Rising Star to Most Wanted

For a quick refresher, Ruja Ignatova’s story started sometime in 2014, when OneCoin was first launched.

Bitcoin was only about seven years old at the time and was worth a little over $300.

The OneCoin marketing team pushed the cryptocurrency forward as “the next Bitcoin”.

However, three years later, in 2017, Onecoin was found to be a Ponzi scheme and collapsed after defrauding investors out of around $4 billion.

Right around this time, Ignatova, the Crypto Queen, disappeared seemingly off the face of the earth, prompting the FBI to begin a global manhunt.

According to the FBI, Ignatova ran through countries all over the world, from Bulgaria to Greece to the UAE and even Russia.

 As of June 2022, the FBI added Ignatova to its Ten Most Wanted List, putting a $100,000 bounty on her head.

In May 2022, about one month before Ignatova’s Ten Most Wanted List debut, Europol also pinned her profile to its Most Wanted List, offering a reward of 5,000 Euros for her capture.

However, the mystery surrounding her disappearance has deepened since, pushing the rewards higher and higher until today, when the bounty is a staggering $5 million, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of State.

The Mystery Deepens

At several points along the line, the mystery deepened, especially in February 2023, when Bulgarian investigators came out with reports that Ignatova had been murdered as far back as in 2018, on the orders of Taki, a drug lord she paid for protection.

However, adding to the intrigue, one of the most recent episodes of the BBC podcast “The Missing Cryptoqueen” pondered:

Did Ignatova perhaps fake her own death to avoid being brought to justice”?

However, despite these theories of her status, whether dead or alive, the FBI is choosing to keep her on its Most Wanted List.

On the other hand, while Ignatova has managed to evade capture so far, other key players in the OneCoin scam have been arrested and brought to justice.

The OneCoin co-founder, Karl Sebastian Greenwood and Irina Dilkinska, the former head of legal and compliance at OneCoinfor example, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering between November and December 2022

So far, the search continues, with the bounty going up and the FBI ramping up its efforts to bring Ignatova to justice.

Disclaimer: Voice of Crypto aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date information but will not be responsible for any missing facts or inaccurate information. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial assets, so research and make your own financial decisions.

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