One of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted criminals has been allegedly dead for the past five years, a new report now claims. Ruja Ignatova, the OneCoin founder who led a group that defrauded billions of dollars from investors, was shot and tossed into the sea in 2018, the report claimed, tying Ignatova to a Bulgarian drug lord.
Ignatova founded OneCoin in 2014, and through an ambitious and effective marketing campaign, she grew it into one of the world’s largest digital asset projects. Dubbed “the next Bitcoin,” OneCoin relied on a web of multi-level marketing to lure investors. By the time it was busted in 2017, investors had sunk $4 billion into the project.
Ignatova was last seen in 2017 when she boarded a plane in October 2017 from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens in Greece. She then disappeared, and while Interpol, the FBI, and dozens of national police forces have been in her pursuit, none has come close to busting her.
Could it be because she has been dead all along?
A new report by the Bureau for Investigative Reporting and Data (BIRD) claims that the Cryptoqueen has been dead for over five years, killed in 2018 by a drug lord who had been involved in the OneCoin scam.
Ruja Ignatova’s ties to Bulgaria’s drug kingpin
It stretches back to March 25, 2022, when Lyubomir Ivanov, the head of the General Directorate of the National Police in Bulgaria, was shot in his home in Sofia. Following his death, police found taped conversations in his home and seized them. BIRD reporters claim to have found these tapes, revealing, among other things, that Ignatova was shot years ago.
The report says that Ignatova was shot in a yacht in Athens back in 2018 under the orders of Hristoforos ‘Taki’ Amanatidis, a known drug kingpin with interests in Bulgaria, although he is believed to reside in Dubai. He has previously been on the Interpol Red Notice but has managed to escape capture.
There have been previous claims that Ignatova was well connected to Taki, with Bulgarian outlet Capital reporting that the drug dealer’s girlfriend organized lucrative real estate acquisitions for the two.
The latest report claims that Taki was involved in the OneCoin scam, and to cover his tracks, he had Ignatova shot while in a yacht in Athens in November 2018, about a year after her disappearance. Her body was then dismembered and tossed into the Ionian Sea.
Last year a former chief cop was murdered in Sofia. Documents found in his home states that the fugitive #OneCoin founder Ruja #Ignatova was murdered on a yacht in Greece in Nov 2018. Her body was dismembered and thrown in the Ionian sea. https://t.co/6fPgQePFlk @FBI @OCCRP
— birdbg (@birdbg2) February 17, 2023
Ignatova was reportedly shot by a man known as Hristo Hristov, who Dutch police would later arrest after he was caught with a large amount of heroin, BIRD reports.
The outlet further claims that while the Prosecutor’s Office is aware of the documents, it has refrained from conducting any further investigations as the murder of Ignatova doesn’t fall within the scope of the probe into the murder of Ivanov, the police general.
Is Ruja Ignatova dead?
Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry has declined to comment on the authenticity of the documents. Many in the digital asset space remain skeptical of the news of Ignatova’s death, given the German police’s previous warning that she could have undergone plastic surgery to evade capture.
I wouldn't take this information as granted that Ruja was killed in November 2018. It's of course possible, but there's no real proof of that. The FBI doesn't usually put dead people on the 10 most wanted list. Also, Bulgaria is Bulgaria…https://t.co/5rgqZweGY5
— Crypto Xpose (@CryptoXpose) February 18, 2023
If she’s still alive, Ignatova still faces dozens of charges ranging from securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, she could be sentenced to over 100 years behind bars.
The report comes just days after Gilbert Armenta, her former boyfriend who pleaded guilty to laundering over $300 million for OneCoin, was sentenced to five years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering.
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