The FBI adds OneCoin founder Roja Agnatova to its list of most wanted kidnappers.

The FBI adds OneCoin founder Roja Agnatova to its list of most wanted kidnappers.

The FBI adds OneCoin founder Roja Agnatova to its list of most wanted kidnappers.

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At London’s Wembley Arena, stage lights flickered, pyrotechnics burned and even fires erupted into a cocoon of joy when Alicia Keys’s “Girl on Fire” hit the top of the speakers. That’s when Roja Agnatova, known as “Cryptocoin”, took to the stage in a long, bright red dress, promising that her cryptocurrency, OneCoin, would take over the world and become a “bitcoin killer.”

The audience at the 2016 event was jungle. In the midst of the crypto boom, OneCoin’s position was on the rise in the United States and around the world. But the height of the company’s metrics will eventually come to an end quickly.

Just over a year later, Agnatova disappeared without a trace, and authorities in Europe and the United States have since tried to apprehend her. The FBI on Thursday added Agnatova to its list of the 10 most wanted kidnappers – a notoriety usually given to suspected cartel leaders, terrorists and assassins. At the same time, Ignatova is accused of leading a pyramid scheme that has robbed more than 4 4 billion of investors, the largest in history.

New York’s Southern District Attorney Damien Williams told a news conference Thursday that “today’s announcement is an attempt to arrest Agnatova, to seek justice for her victims and to hold her accountable for her crimes.” There is a commitment to double. ” .

Before splitting her face along with the desired poster, Ignatova, a German citizen with Bulgarian, a law degree from the University of Oxford in the “Stirling Resume” and a consulting position at McKinsey & Company, Williams said. Had shown. How Ignatova, the only woman on the list of most wanted kidnappers, came to be included in the dossier of alleged murderers and gang leaders is a story dating back to 2014, when OneCoin was born.

An interesting idea presented to investors and promoted along with marketing materials was a revolutionary currency “for anyone to pay anywhere, [to] Everyone, globally, “said Agnatova at Wembley Arena. OneCoin promised a cryptocurrency that would outperform anyone else and the first users would see their return” five times or ten times “. Does, according to the criminal complaint.

But the story, As noted in the court documents, this is not one of the many promises that the founders could not fulfill – such as the case of Elizabeth Holmes and Tranos. Instead, OneCoin was out for a ponzi scheme, investigators claim.

The six-point crypto investment is a classic ponzi scheme

Although supposed to be a form of crypto, OneCoin did not actually have a payment system or blockchain model, the key technology that stores cryptocurrencies – thus making OneCoin tokens essentially worthless. Ignatova and the company’s founders are accused of knowing too much. (In a statement to the BBC in 2019, OneCoin denied any wrongdoing.)

According to internal emails received by investigators, the point of creating OneCoin was to create a “level coin” that would fuse the craze around crypto with multifaceted marketing.

OneCoin relied on its users to bring in more subscribers by offering a number of rewards, commissions and “business packages” at different prices, according to federal auditors. Eventually, the network of investors expanded to hundreds of countries. Prosecutor Williams said Thursday that more than 3 million people are believed to have been hired.

Agnatova “called for the humanity of the people, promising that OneCoin would change the lives of bankless people,” Williams said. “And she gave time to her scheme, investing entirely on interesting speculation in the early days of cryptocurrency.”

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The plan, however, was to “take the money and blame someone else for it,” Ignatova wrote to a co-founder in 2014, according to court documents.

Cracks around OneCoin began to appear around 2016, Endeavor reported, when Sweden, Latvia, Norway, Croatia, Italy and Bulgaria – where OneCoin was headquartered – were on fraud alert lists. OneCoin started adding. The trial began soon after.

Williams said Agnatova began to fear that law enforcement would catch up with her and even eat the apartment of her American boyfriend when she became suspicious of him. He added that the records eventually warned her that he was cooperating with the FBI and had developed a plan for her escape.

“She immediately flew from Bulgaria to Greece with a security guard. Not a single piece of luggage. The security guard came back, but Agnatova was not there. She has not been seen or heard from since,” Williams said.

Despite her disappearance in October 2017, Agnatova was indicted by the federal Supreme Court that month and an arrest warrant was issued for her. He has been charged with wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, security fraud and conspiracy to commit security fraud. The first four numbers each carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years, while the last one carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Crypto fraud is on the rise, costing more than 1 billion last year

The fate of OneCoin finally came to its founding photographer. Ignatova’s brother, Konstantin Ignatov, remained in the company, which collapsed after it was seized by the FBI in 2019. He pleaded guilty to a number of offenses and entered into a petition for cooperation with the authorities – suggesting that he might enter and assume a witness protection program. A new identity, according to court documents.

The FBI is now bidding for the public to assist in the investigation and offering a 100,000 reward for information leading to Ignatova’s capture.

At the 2016 event in London, she said, “I’ve been told a lot of things and perhaps the best thing the press has ever called me … the Bitcoin killer.”

Now, he can add “most desirable fugitives” to the list.

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