"The Crypto Queen is floating somewhere on the high seas" — What did Jamie Bartlett reveal about Ruja Ignatova's stolen wealth? 

Ruja Ignatova
What did Jamie Bartlett reveal about Ruja Ignatova's stolen wealth? (Image via Unsplash/Alina Kacharho)

The multi-million dollar scam of OneCoin had Ruja Ignatova swindle $4 billion from investors all over the world. The stolen wealth in the multi-level marketing setup of OneCoin led to the associates spending on mansions, sports cars, yachts, designer clothes, and jewelry.

Per the New York Post, the salespeople on top of the chain earned close to a million in commissions per month while Ruja herself treated herself to properties all over the world.

On that note, the British investigative reporter Jamie Bartlett, behind the podcast The Missing Cryptoqueen and book, The Missing Cryptoqueen: The Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Con and the Woman Who Got Away with It, wrote,

“The Crypto Queen is floating somewhere on the high seas with a new name, a new face, and access to endless amounts of this strange new form of money.”

The latest episode of In Pursuit With John Walsh titled Crypto Queenpin showcases the scam Ruja Ignatova ran with Taki's alleged help as it aired on June 19, 2024, at 10 p.m. EST on Investigation Discovery. The official synopsis of the episode reads:

"John takes on accused financial fraudster Ruja Ignatova, whose alleged crypto con landed her on the FBI's top ten most wanted list; Callahan heads to Pennsylvania on the trail of Freddy Calle, accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl."

How did Ruja Ignatova and her associates use the $4 billion swindled by OneCoin?

Ruja Ignatova and her associates publicized OneCoin as BitCoin's biggest rival and pulled in sturdy investments from all over the world. While Ignatova boasted of a transparent blockchain at events, investigations found a lack thereof, resulting in no recorded history of the currency.

Per Investopedia, the educational packages sold by OneCoin were plagiarized from websites such as Wikipedia. The heaps of OneCoins, that the investors got with the purchases, had values that Ruja and her company could decide because of the lack of necessary technology.

Ruja Ignatova made use of the money she encountered by buying properties all over the world. She bought a superyacht Davina worth £6 million, which comes with six luxury rooms and an underwater observation room, per the Daily Mail UK. About the luxury Ruja enjoyed, Bartlett further wrote in his book,

“When she stayed at her sparkling new Kensington penthouse on a two-week trip to London in December 2016, [Ruja] spent most days shopping — returning home each evening flanked by two exhausted-looking bodyguards carrying bags of designer dresses and jewelry,”

OneCoin's biggest earner, Igor Alberts, put up posts on his social media, flaunting his wealth and purchases. He was the owner of an eight-story luxury mansion in the suburbs of Amsterdam. Another associate, Juha Parhiala, owned a slew of sports cars such as Lamborghini Huracán and Ferrari 488, along with a resort in Thailand.

According to Jamie Bartlett, Ruja could still be one of the richest criminals in the world if she continues to own BitCoins. The assumption is based on the trade offer she had with Sheikh Saud bin Faisal al Qassimi, wherein she parted ways with 230,000 Bitcoins for €50 million in 2015.

While Ruja Ignatova remains absconding or possibly dead, she continues to be on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list since June 2022.

Catch all the details on In Pursuit with John Walsh as it streams on Discovery Plus.

Edited by Pradyot Hegde
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