The OneCoin Scam: German Court Sentences Accomplices of Missing 'Crypto Queen' to Prison

Crime | January 10, 2024, Wednesday // 09:42
Bulgaria: The OneCoin Scam: German Court Sentences Accomplices of Missing 'Crypto Queen' to Prison Ruja Ignatova (left)

A German court in Münster has delivered a verdict against key accomplices involved in the notorious OneCoin cryptocurrency scam. The case implicated spouses Frank R. and Manon H., along with a Munich-based lawyer, for defrauding millions of customers across Europe, resulting in damages nearing a staggering 3 billion euros.

Frank R., aged 71, received a 5-year sentence, while his wife, Manon H., aged 50, was sentenced to 4 years. Their involvement as a financial hub in Europe for the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme was established through their company in Greven, Germany, linked directly to Ruja Ignatova, the mastermind behind the scam.

Ruja Ignatova, referred to as the 'crypto queen,' spearheaded the OneCoin scheme, attracting investors through grand events from 2014 to 2016. However, she vanished in 2017, becoming one of the FBI's most wanted individuals. Her whereabouts remain unknown, fueling speculation about her status—whether deceased or in hiding, possibly in Dubai.

The unraveling of the scam began after suspicions were raised in 2016, stemming from a tip-off at a Sparkasse branch in Steinfurt, Germany. Investigations revealed transactions totaling 320 million euros within weeks, with the couple from Greven pocketing millions in commission.

The court exposed the scheme's mechanics, where customers were deceived into purchasing worthless cryptocurrency shares disguised as "educational packages." The promise of mining opportunities and artificial value increments lured buyers into the pyramid scheme.

Although the defendants claimed ignorance about the intricate details of the fraud, the court found ample evidence indicating their complicity. Moreover, their lack of authorization for such financial operations further solidified the verdict.

Another defendant, a Munich lawyer, faced a sentence of two years and nine months for transferring 20 million euros abroad using false data. Despite claims of trust in OneCoin as a legitimate currency, the defense's arguments didn't sway the court.

The outcome brings little hope for compensation to the affected individuals, with only 28 million euros recovered out of the massive 3 billion euro sum stolen. The whereabouts of Ignatova, the elusive mastermind, remain a mystery six years after her disappearance.

The verdict stands as a crucial milestone in the pursuit of justice against the elaborate OneCoin scam, shedding light on the depth of its deception and the repercussions faced by its accomplices.

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Tags: onecoin, cryptocurrency, court, ruja ignatova

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