Ruja Ignatova, 42, a Bulgarian-born woman wanted for her alleged role in the fraud involving the cryptocurrency OneCoin, may have received police information about an investigation into her $4 billion (£3.5 billion) cryptocurrency fraud before her disappearance.
She disappeared on October 25, 2017, after being tipped off about intensifying police investigations into her cryptocurrency, OneCoin, and was placed on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list in June 2022.
Files seen by the BBC from Europol meetings suggest she knew about the arrest efforts through the podcast The Missing Cryptoqueen by Frank Schneider, a former spy and trusted adviser to Ms Ignatova.
Although Schneider denies having received the documents that Ms Ignatova says he received on a USB memory stick, he claims that metadata on the files suggests that she obtained the information about her own contacts in Bulgaria, and he also faces extradition to the U.S. for his alleged role in the OneCoin fraud.
The documents were leaked on 15 March 2017 at a Europol “Operation Satellite” meeting in The Hague attended by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York District Attorney and officials from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Dubai and Bulgaria.
It was revealed that U.S. authorities had a “highly placed confidential informant,” that OneCoin bank accounts received investor funds and that London police tried to question Ms Ignatova but failed.
Europol has since investigated the matter.
The sources for this piece include an article in BBC.