Ruja Ignatova is a Bulgarian former entrepreneur who founded the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme known as OneCoin.
She was convicted of fraud in 2019 and is currently a fugitive from various international law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.
Ignatova, also known as the “Cryptoqueen,” is wanted for her alleged participation in a large-scale fraud scheme that defrauded billions of dollars from investors worldwide.
She was the top leader of OneCoin until October 2017 and has been on the run since then.
Ignatova’s fraudulent activities have been the subject of a BBC podcast series and a book.
She was born in Ruse, Bulgaria, in 1980, and emigrated to Germany with her family when she was ten years old.
Ignatova earned a PhD in private international law from the University of Constance in Germany.
She remains at large, and the FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to her arrest.
Ruja Ignatova age
Ignatova was born on May 30, 1980, making her 42 years old as of November 2023.
Ruja Ignatova height
Ignatova’s height is 1.70 meters (5 feet 7 inches), and her weight is around 64 kg (141 lbs).
She has hazel eyes and dark brown hair.
Ruja Ignatova ethnicity
Ignatova’s ethnicity is a mix of Bulgarian and German.
She was born in Ruse, Bulgaria, to a Romani family.
When she was ten years old, her family emigrated to Germany, where she spent part of her childhood in Schramberg in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Ignatova holds a German passport and has lived in both Bulgaria and Germany.
Ruja Ignatova parents
Ignatova’s parents are Veska Ignatova and Plamen Ignatov.
Her father was an engineer, and her mother was a teacher.
Ignatova’s parents worked hard to provide for their family, and she was an exceptional student in school.
Ruja Ignatova brother
Ignatova’s brother is Konstantin Ignatov.
He played a significant role in the $4 billion Ponzi scheme, and was a major figure behind the fraud and agreed to testify against his sister as part of a settlement that saw him dismissed from civil litigation targeting the scam.
In this settlement, Ignatov committed to cooperate with the class of OneCoin investors bringing the suit forward and to testify against his sister on their behalf should the suit go to trial.
Konstantin is also a defendant and cooperating witness in a parallel criminal case, with his testimony helping secure the conviction of lawyer and alleged OneCoin money launderer Mark Scott in November 2019.
He pled guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in October and is facing up to 90 years imprisonment in the criminal case.
The brother’s plea deal came as a surprise to many, as it implied that even he had been duped by Ignatova.
This dramatic turn of events vindicated those who were threatened with legal action for calling OneCoin a scam.
His involvement in the OneCoin fraud highlights the complex and intertwined nature of the scheme, with family ties playing a significant role in its operation.
Ruja Ignatova husband
Ignatova was married to Björn Strehl, a German lawyer, with whom she had a daughter in 2016.
Strehl is currently under investigation in Germany for money laundering related to the OneCoin scheme.
Ignatova is best known as the founder of the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme known as OneCoin, which has been described as “one of the biggest scams in history”.
She was charged in October 2017 on counts related to fraud and money laundering and has been on the run from various international law enforcement agencies since 2017.
According to a report published by Bulgarian investigative reporting site Bird, Ignatova was murdered in November 2018 on the orders of a Bulgarian drug lord, Hristoforos Amanatidis, also known as Taki.
However, a 2022 interview with FBI Special Agent Paul Roberts notes that the agency’s investigation into Ignatova is “operating under the assumption that she is still alive”, with “no information” to counter that belief.
Ruja Ignatova net worth
Ignatova is reported to have a net worth of over $4 billion.
She is believed to have 230,000 Bitcoin worth around $4 billion and $500 million in a bank account.
Ignatova’s wealth stems from her involvement in the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin, which defrauded investors of billions of dollars.
Ruja Ignatova death claims
According to a report published by Bulgarian investigative reporting site Bird, Ignatova, was allegedly murdered in November 2018 on the orders of a Bulgarian drug lord, Hristoforos Amanatidis, also known as Taki.
The report claims that Ignatova was shot on a yacht in Athens and her body was dismembered and thrown overboard.
However, a 2022 interview with FBI’s Roberts notes that the agency’s investigation into Ignatova is “operating under the assumption that she is still alive”, with “no information” to counter that belief.
The authenticity of the report has been questioned, and Bulgarian authorities have declined to comment on the matter.
Ignatova has been on the run from various international law enforcement agencies since 2017 and is currently on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Ruja Ignatova criminal activities
Ignatova’s criminal activities include;
OneCoin fraud – Ignatova and her partners lured unsuspecting victims into investing in OneCoin, claiming that it would be the “Bitcoin killer”.
In reality, OneCoin was a scam, and the company’s coins were entirely worthless.
Victims lost over $4 billion worldwide.
Securities fraud and money laundering – Ignatova was charged in October 2017 with one count each of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Fugitive – Ignatova disappeared in 2017 after her business partners took the fall for the failing company.
The FBI believes she may have traveled on a German passport from Athens, possibly to the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Russia, Eastern Europe, or even back to Bulgaria.
She is currently on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Previous conviction – In 2012, Ignatova was convicted of fraud in Germany in connection with her father Plamen Ignatov’s acquisition of a company that shortly afterward was declared bankrupt in dubious circumstances.
She was given a suspended sentence of 14 months’ imprisonment.
Ignatova’s criminal activities have caused significant harm to her victims, and she remains on the run from law enforcement agencies.
Ruja Ignatova whereabouts
Ignatova has been the subject of various claims regarding her whereabouts.
Despite being on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, there have been reports suggesting that she may still be alive.
According to a report by the New York Post, a property listing in London has brought Ignatova out of hiding, indicating that she may still be alive and potentially residing in London.
However, speculation has also arisen that she may have been murdered, with a report by Bulgarian investigative journalists suggesting that she was killed in 2018.
The report claims that she was shot on a yacht in Athens and her body was dismembered and thrown overboard.
These conflicting reports have led to uncertainty about her current whereabouts.
Despite the various claims, her exact location remains unknown, and she continues to be a fugitive from law enforcement.
Ruja Ignatova career
Ignatova pursued an impressive educational and professional trajectory before her involvement in the OneCoin scandal.
She obtained a doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Konstanz in Germany and is claimed to have also earned a Ph.D. in private international law from the same university at the age of 25.
Additionally, there are claims that she studied at the University of Oxford in England, although details about the college, course, or date of matriculation are not available.
Ignatova’s professional career included working at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, after completing her education.
She later founded OneCoin Ltd in 2014, marketing the cryptocurrency as a rival to Bitcoin.
Her ambitious endeavors and the subsequent fraudulent activities associated with OneCoin led to her being labeled as the Cryptoqueen and the subject of the 2019 BBC podcast series, The Missing Cryptoqueen.
Despite her academic achievements and early career, Ignatova’s involvement in the OneCoin scandal has overshadowed her prior accomplishments.
Since 2017, she has been on the run from law enforcement, including the FBI, and has been charged in absentia by U.S. authorities for wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering.
Her net worth is estimated to be around $5 million.
Additionally, she is the subject of an international Interpol warrant by German authorities.
Her current whereabouts remain unknown, and she is considered a fugitive from justice.
When and where was Ruja Ignatova born?
Ignatova was born on May 30, 1980, in Ruse, Bulgaria.
What is her educational background?
She holds a doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Konstanz in Germany and a Ph.D. in private international law from the same university at the age of 25.
Where did she study at the University of Oxford?
Ignatova studied at the University of Oxford, but the college, course, or date of matriculation are not available.
What was her professional career before OneCoin?
She worked for McKinsey & Company, an international management consulting firm, after completing her education.
When did she found OneCoin?
Ignatova founded OneCoin Ltd in 2014.
How much money was raised in the OneCoin scheme?
The OneCoin scheme raised billions of dollars, with estimates of over $4 billion being lost by investors worldwide.
Why did Ignatova disappear in 2017?
Ignatova disappeared in 2017 after allegedly participating in a £3.2 billion cryptocurrency scam.
Is Ruja Ignatova still on the run from law enforcement?
Yes, Ignatova has been on the run from law enforcement since 2017, including the FBI, and has been charged in absentia by U.S. authorities for wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.
What is her current net worth?
Ignatova’s net worth is estimated to be over $4 billion, with 230,000 BTC worth more than $11 billion and $500 million in a Dubai bank account.
Is there any information about her current whereabouts?
There are speculations that Ignatova may still be alive and could be in London, but her exact location remains unknown.