Frank Schneider, a top associate of OneCoin, is facing charges of wire fraud and money laundering if his extradition process to the United States sails through.
An indictment detailing the charges against Schneider was unsealed after the approval of the application of U.S. Attorney Damian William. The document revealed the charges filed against Schneider in a Grand Jury hearing back in 2020 for his role in the OneCoin Ponzi scheme that cost investors billions of dollars in losses.
“Schneider helped to operate an international fraud scheme involving the sale of a purported cryptocurrency known as ‘OneCoin’ – by, among other things, managing the scheme’s proceeds and evading law enforcement investigations into the scheme,” the report read.
In his defense, Schneider said he occupied the role of crisis manager at OneCoin, using his unique skill sets to solve unexpected issues. He admitted to being a close confidante of the project’s founder Ruja Ignatova but denied any knowledge that the company was running a Ponzi scheme.
“If it is really fraud, it must be clarified, and then it will also be a case of money laundering and I must be held responsible for what I might have done,” Schneider said.
The indictment noted that Schneider was involved in making false statements and misrepresentations to obtain funds from investors worldwide to invest in the sham tokens. Schneider served in Luxemburg’s secret service, and his private intelligence firm was detailed to have been contracted to work for OneCoin.
Ignatova has been the center of a global manhunt, with the Interpol and Europol joining forces with German national police to apprehend the project’s founder. The U.S. government has placed a $100,000 bounty on Ignatova, urging members of the public with any information of her whereabouts to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The herculean extradition battle
Schneider was arrested in 2021 and has since launched a massive fight to avoid being extradited to the U.S. to face trial. A Paris court took sides with the U.S. that Schneider should be extradited, while Luxembourg’s Prime Minister disclosed that the government would not involve itself in the extradition process.
At the moment, Schneider, who is under house arrest in France, revealed via a radio interview that he would prefer to be tried in Luxembourg. If tried in his home country of Luxembourg, he will face up to five years in prison, but extradition to the U.S. could see him face 40 years in prison.
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