Recently I interviewed Gilly Smith – a podcaster, author and foodie from the UK. She talked about a lot of podcast but mentioned the BBC Sounds “The Missing Crypto Queen” as one of her favourites. Naturally I had to listen to it.
The Missing Crypto Queen is a podcast that focus on Dr Ruja Ignatova a Bulgarian business woman who started the OneCoin empire. A success story turning out to be one of the worlds larged conjobs – a Ponzi scheme. But before the truth came out Dr Ignatova vanished in 2017. And there is still a lot of money missing.
OneCoin was not Ignatovas first fraud. Before she scammed millions of people around the world. She was involved in a similar scam called BigCoin. She was also convicted for fraud in a German case related Ignatova family buying a factory. In Sweden alone around 60000 people where fooled into investing in OneCoin. The exact amount of money collected in the world is not known but the mentioned range is between €4b to €17b.
When reading up a bit on the case I find a lot information that is contradictory. One being the existance of a public exchange – e.g. where you can buy and sell coins. The coins where sold outside of an exchange as part of a big MLM, multi-level-marketing, scheme. Where layers of layers of promoters and individual agents sold packages. The promotors got paid partly in money and partly in OneCoins. Essently the scammer scammed also the people promoting and selling the product. They sold very expensive educational package where the OneCoins came for free. This was a way to dodge scrutany from the financial inspection agencys around the world.
In late October 2017 Ignatova vanished and has not since been seen. Her brother Konstantin Ignatova took over the company and ran it until he was charged with fraud in the US 2019. He pleaded guilty to the charges.
I definitely want to recommend the BBC Sounds Podcast “The Missing Crypto Queen“. It’s one of these you cannot stop to listen to. It’s currently 9 episodes but as this story continues to evolve there may come additional ones in the future.