Fraud

OneCoin founder accomplice extradited to US to face fraud case

The man accused of laundering over $100 million for OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova is set to be extradited to face fraud charges in the United States after a British judge dismissed his attempt to delay the process.

Christopher Hamilton appeared before District Judge Nicholas Rimmer this week, Law360 reports. The Briton’s legal team argued against the extradition order to the U.S., claiming that most of the alleged crimes were committed in the United Kingdom. Moreover, the lawyers added that it’s nearly impossible to tell where most of the harm from OneCoin took place.

Hamilton was arguing against an extradition order in which U.S. prosecutors claimed he should be extradited for his role in the OneCoin scam. They alleged that Hamilton received millions of dollars from Gilbert Armenta, a Florida resident with intricate links to ‘Crypto Queen’ Ignatova. The money was specifically wired to accounts controlled by Hamilton under a company called Viola Asset Management.

Previous court filings have alleged that Hamilton laundered at least $105 million for Ignatova, the infamous founder of OneCoin, a Ponzi scheme that collapsed with $4 billion worth of investors’ funds. Ignatova disappeared in 2017, and she has been on the run since. She was reportedly last seen in Athens, Greece, with two Russian-speaking men.

In June, Cryptoqueen made it to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, with $100,000 going to anyone who can provide the bureau with information that leads to her arrest. Weeks earlier, German authorities had launched investigations on her husband Bjorn Strehl and had raided premises in Frankfurt and other cities. In April, Europol added Ignatova to its most wanted list as well.

The renewed interest in the Cryptoqueen saw her become the subject of the latest monthly podcast by the FBI. While the episode didn’t reveal any new information, it laid open all the information that the FBI has on Ignatova. Spoiler alert—it’s not much. All it knows about her physical appearance is that she last had dark brown hair and brown eyes. This description may not help much as the bureau believes she may have altered her physical appearance.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups from BitMEX to BinanceBitcoin.comBlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbaseRipple,
EthereumFTX and Tether—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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