Three defendants in the case of OneCoin, who are associated with fugitive founder Ruja “Crypto Queen” Ignatova, will stand trial in Germany on fraud, banking crime, and money laundering charges, CoinTelegraph reported.
The first was a lawyer based in Munich, who appeared in court on Oct 18. Allegedly, he transferred $19.7 million on Ignatova’s behalf via the Cayman Islands to buy two apartments in London.
The second and third defendants are a husband and wife team. They are accused of processing payments from OneCoin customers worth $315.4 million, Bloomberg reported.
A pyramid scheme worth $4 billion
Dr. Ruja Ignatova launched OneCoin eight years ago as a crypto trading project. Soon, it emerged to be a pyramid scheme according to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
The project claimed to have a token mining structure, which it did not. Other technical and business claims were found untrue as well.
The FBI reported that OneCoin cheated more than 3 million investors out of around $4 billion. In the German court, prosecutors noted, “In reality, the ever-growing value was a fake and the mining process was only simulated by the software.”
Crypto Queen last seen in Athens 5 years ago
Ignatova’s last known whereabouts were Athens, Greece. She has been missing since 2017. The FBI added her to its top ten list in June and will pay up to $100,000 for information leading to her arrest.
Crypto supporter and economist Angelina Lazar accused OneCoin of bribing Serbian and Bulgarian presidents in addition to the $4 billion worth of fraud.
Accomplice extradited to US
The three accomplices to face trial are in addition to action taken against Christopher Hamilton, another alleged associate. He has been accused of using OneCoin to launder $105 million in 2014.
In August last year, a UK judge ordered to extradite Hamilton to the US, where he will stand trial. The procedure took effect at the start of September.
Other legal action
Konstantin Ignatov, Ruja’s brother, took control of OneCoin at one point. In 2019, he pleaded guilty to several fraud-related and money laundering charges. Two of his accomplices faced a class action suit that a court reviewed in March 2020.
The case of the missing Ruja piques the interest of many. Writer and journalist Jamie Bartlett hosts a popular BBC podcast on the subject. So far, 11 episodes have been aired.