Missing Crypto-Queen's Dark Ties with Bulgarian Crime Boss Revealed

Crime | June 3, 2024, Monday // 15:10
Bulgaria: Missing Crypto-Queen's Dark Ties with Bulgarian Crime Boss Revealed

FBI-wanted Ruja Ignatova, who defrauded investors of 4.5 billion USD, had close ties to Christophoros Amanatidis-Taki, reveals the BBC in its investigation titled "Missing Cryptoqueen’s murky links to Bulgarian underworld."

The Oxford-educated crypto queen, born in Bulgaria and raised in Germany, had a successful career in finance before launching the cryptocurrency OneCoin in 2014. Ignatova convinced millions to invest, promising returns greater than Bitcoin.

In October 2017, as German and US investigators closed in, she took a Ryanair flight from Sofia to Athens and disappeared, recalls the BBC. Ignatova and Taki were seen together frequently, with Taki reportedly overseeing her security, according to Richard Reinhardt formally of the US IRS.

BBC sources confirmed that a significant Bulgarian drug trafficker was closely linked with OneCoin and served as Ignatova's personal guard. Another US government representative suggested this security chief was involved in her disappearance.

Ignatova was described by Reinhardt as a sophisticated criminal, likened to a white-collar criminal combined with a mobster. Leaked Europol documents reviewed by the BBC revealed connections between Ignatova and Taki before her disappearance, with suspicions that Taki laundered drug money through OneCoin.

Despite investigations for various crimes, Taki and his associates were never prosecuted successfully. Former Deputy Minister Ivan Hristanov suggested Taki was the only person capable of protecting Ignatova from investigations.

Believed to be living in Dubai, Taki was reportedly closely connected to Ignatova, potentially receiving up to 100,000 EUR monthly for protection. Europol documents also detailed a land deal involving one of Ignatova's companies and Taki's wife.

These documents were provided to the BBC by Frank Schneider, a former adviser to Ignatova who disappeared months after speaking to the BBC. Schneider, concerned for his safety, refrained from naming those behind the criminal scheme.

Krasimir Kamenov-Karo, killed in Cape Town in May 2023, had reportedly spoken to the CIA about Taki. Sources confirmed a meeting in late 2022. Former IRS investigator Richard Reinhardt believes Ignatova is likely dead, although he found no direct evidence linking her death to Taki, fitting the modus operandi of drug cartels.

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Tags: ignatova, Taki, crypto, Bulgarian

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