OneCoin’s Fugitive ‘Cryptoqueen’ May Have Been Murdered by Her Own Security

OneCoin’s Fugitive ‘Cryptoqueen’ May Have Been Murdered by Her Own Security

Fugitive CEO of OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova, a.k.a. 'Cryptoqueen', may have been murdered at the orders of a dangerous drug lord she hired to protect her, according to a BBC investigation

OneCoin’s fugitive CEO, Ruja Ignatova, a.k.a. ‘Cryptoqueen’, “may have been murdered” at the orders of a dangerous drug lord she hired to protect her, a BBC investigation revealed on Monday. Criminal associates of Ignatova’s mafioso bodyguard, Hristoforos Nikos Amanatidis, believe he killed her for the unwanted attention her case brought him, it said.

Ignatova is the only woman on the FBI’s list of 10 most wanted fugitives. She vanished into thin air in November 2017. The 40-something-old Bulgarian is wanted for her role in OneCoin, the cryptocurrency scam she founded.

The FBI alleges that Ignatova defrauded people who took part in OneCoin of $4.5 billion. The scheme had all the makings of a Ponzi. It used network marketing and commissions to gain popularity. Everyone who introduced a new buyer to the platform received a commission.
Cryptoqueen Spends $100K/Month on Personal Security

According to the BBC, Cryptoqueen was paying Amanatidis, the Bulgarian drug trafficker connected with murder and armed robberies, $ 100,000 a month for protection. Amanatidis also goes by the alias ‘Taki.’ Speaking to the broadcaster, Dimitar Stoyanov, a Bulgarian investigative journalist who first broke the murder story with his colleagues in 2022, said:

“Certain people had to be removed because they knew too much about Taki. It was kind of a public execution that looked more like a statement. Be careful who you deal with.”

Stoyanov’s 2022 report for news outlet referred to a police report recovered from the home of a murdered Bulgarian cop in 2022.

The report detailed a police informer’s account of Taki’s brother-in-law drunkenly saying Ignatova had been murdered on Taki’s orders in late 2018. After the alleged killing, Ignatova’s body was dismembered and dumped off a yacht in the Ionian Sea, it added.

Bulgarian officials confirmed the authenticity of the police document to BBC, who could not independently verify the murder claim. Bird reporter Stoyanov indicated the high possibility of the story, but it is also possible that the report was planted to rest agencies off the Cryptoqueen’s file.’

A close ally of Taki’s called Krasimir Kamenov reportedly briefed the CIA in 2022 about Taki and his responsibility for the murder of Ignatova. He would be murdered in Cape Town, South Africa, a year later, along with his wife and two associates in an episode that has also been linked to Taki.
‘No Honor Among Thieves

Ruja Ignatova attracted millions of unsuspecting investors by marketing OneCoin as a Bitcoin alternative that would reward early movers. The Oxford graduate was selling a Ponzi scheme that did not use a digital public ledger like legitimate cryptocurrencies.

Three years after the 2014 launch of OneCoin, the Cryptoqueen escaped from Sofia to Athens as U.S. and German agencies moved to bust her pyramid. She has since been off the radar, despite ongoing arrests and extraditions of her accomplices.

An assistant attorney said during a 2019 hearing, that the U.S. government had “evidence that a very significant, if not the most prolific, drug trafficker of all time in Bulgaria, was closely linked to OneCoin – served as (Ignatova’s) personal security guard.”

Another lawyer said, at the time, the same “head of security” was “involved in her disappearance.” Now, retired U.S. Internal Revenue Service investigator Richard Reinhardt has confirmed Taki as the unnamed actor.

“We were told, allegedly a big-time drug guy was in charge of her physical security,” Reinhardt told BBC. “Taki came up more than once, it wasn’t like it was a one-off. That was a recurring theme.”

Concerning whether Taki may have had Ignatova murdered, Reinhardt had no information but could not put it past the drug lord either.

“There’s no honor among thieves… knowing how violent cartels are, if (Taki) thought she was a threat to him… he would probably take her out instead of getting caught.”

Cryptoqueen May Still Be Alive, Yet

A speculative take by TradingPedia in 2022 suggested that Ignatova had undergone a sex change to stay off the radar. Another angle speculates that both Taki and the Cryptoqueen are living in Dubai. Sources told the BBC that the two had a close personal relationship and Taki was godfather to Ignatova’s daughter.

Europol documents supplied to the BBC by a former spy and advisor to the OneCoin CEO, Frank Schneider, also mention a land deal between one of Ignatova’s companies and Taki’s wife. Schneider, who has since disappeared, told BBC that the Cryptoqueen was involved in “serious organized crime” and working with “crooks” and “gangsters”.

Reinhardt likened Taki to “a white-collar criminal combined with a drug trafficker or mafia guy on steroids,” possibly more dangerous than he had been taken for. In the Europol documents, Taki is suspected of using OneCoin’s financial network to launder drug money.

Reinhardt’s character reveal adds to the speculation that Taki had Ignatova murdered to deflect the unwanted attention her case was causing him. Ignatova’s body has never been found and Taki has never been arrested over the murder claims.

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