Wednesday, October 28, 2020

OneCoin founder’s brother pleads guilty to money laundering charges

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a plea deal with Konstantin Ignatov for his involvement in OneCoin Ltd., a cryptocurrency project based out of Bulgaria.

Ignatov pleaded guilty to multiple counts including money laundering, according to the BBC. The deal was reached Oct. 4, but released publicly Tuesday following his arrest at Los Angles International Airport in March 2019.

He is the brother of OneCoin co-founder Dr Ruja Ignatov, colloquially called “Cryptoqueen” for her actions in the alleged scam and subsequent disappearance.

Under the terms of the plea, Ignatov will not face further charges as they emerge against OneCoin and its constituents, with the exception of possible tax violations. Still, Ignatov faces up 90 years in prison, the BBC said.

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OneCoin raised some $4 billion for its cryptocurrency and proprietary ecosystem in funding, in what multiple governments have called a Ponzi scheme. OneCoin denies those allegations and continues to operate.

The BBC said Ignatov could be moved into the U.S. witness protection program depending on the longevity of his sentence. Court documents say individuals have come forward with threats against him.

While testifying in another ongoing case against Mark Scott, a U.S. lawyer accused of laundering funds $400 million from OneCoin, Ignatov revealed more details about his sister, the BBC said. A warrant for her arrest from the DOJ is currently outstanding.

The BBC said Ignatov told the court that his sister acquired a passport and tickets to Vienna and Athens from her home in Bulgaria. She called OneCoin critics “haters” and was wary of being given up to authorities, he said.

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Although Ignatov hired a private investigator to find her, he has not spoken to her since her disappearance, according to the BBC.

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