OneLife / OneCoin / YouTube
Konstantin Ignatov pleaded guilty
Konstantin Ignatov, brother of "missing cryptoqueen", Dr. Ruja Ignatova, admitted his role in OneCoin cryptographic currency fraud.
Ignatov pleaded guilty to several charges, including money laundering and fraud.
OneCoin and the disappearance of its co-founder Dr. Ruja Ignatova were the target of a BBC Sounds podcast.
Researchers believe that up to $ 4 billion has been raised globally in what is said to have been a Ponzi scheme.
The Bulgarian-based organization behind OneCoin Ltd continues to operate and denies all irregularities.
Ignatov was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in March.
He signed a court settlement document on October 4 – but was released on November 12 only after being obtained by the Inner City Press journalist. Matthew Russell Lee.
In complying with the terms of the court agreement, Ignatov will not face any other criminal charges for his role on OneCoin, other than any tax violations that may arise.
OneCoin / YouTube
Dr. Ruja Ignatova is still missing
The document says Ignatov's cooperation with the authorities may "reveal activities of individuals who may use violence" against him or his family.
This suggests that he could sign up for the US witness protection scheme and be given a new identity.
He has not yet been convicted, but could face up to 90 years in prison for his role in the fraud.
Ignatov also testified at the trial of a US lawyer accused of laundering part of OneCoin's revenue.
Mark Scott is accused of directing approximately $ 400 million ($ 310 million) outside the US while trying to conceal the true ownership and origin of the funds.
He faces a conspiracy charge to commit money laundering and another to commit bank fraud. He pleaded not guilty.
During this trial, Ignatov revealed more details about the disappearance of his sister Dr. Ruja Ignatova.
According to her testimony, Dr. Ignatova was living in Sofia, Bulgaria, before disappearing, Inner city press reports.
He confirmed that Dr. Ignatova had told her that OneCoin critics were "haters" and that she was "very tired".
She feared someone close to hand her over to the FBI, he said.
He claims she told him that she had gotten a "big passport" and asked him to buy plane tickets to Vienna, Austria and then Athens, Greece.
Ignatov said he had not spoken to his sister since she disappeared. He hired a private investigator to find her, but was unsuccessful.
The US government has said it expects Scott's trial to be finalized next week.
Jamie Bartlett, Missing Cryptoqueen Host
Ignatov's deal will be a great relief to OneCoin critics.
Those who have been threatened with legal action for calling OneCoin a fraud will now feel justified.
Although I spent so much time investigating this case, I was surprised to see his brother turn so dramatically against his sister.
Ignatov seems to be implying that he was fooled by her.
There is still nothing definitive about her whereabouts – but there are certainly new clues to follow.
- Listen to The Missing Cryptoqueen on BBC Sounds
The case will slow OneCoin's ongoing promotion – but it may not totally prevent it.
In the past, OneCoin prosecutors rejected all criticism and evidence for being politically motivated or coming from "enemies." They can do it again.
I believe the Sofia headquarters remains open for business and I have seen some supporters say they will continue to promote.
For lower-level investors, it can be a tough time – they will have to admit that they have been scammed and their money is gone.
That will not be easy.
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