NewsHunt for the elusive "Cryptoqueen": Reward surges to £4 million

Hunt for the elusive "Cryptoqueen": Reward surges to £4 million

Ruja Ignatova wanted by FBI. Gigantic reward
Ruja Ignatova wanted by FBI. Gigantic reward
Images source: © Facebook
Aneta Polak

27 June 2024 16:32

The reward for helping to locate Ruja Ignatova increased from £200,000 to £4 million. The Bulgarian-born German is known as the "Cryptoqueen". She created the cryptocurrency company OneCoin, gained investors' trust, then collected billions of pounds and disappeared.

44-year-old Ruja Ignatova, who was born in Bulgaria but holds German citizenship, is suspected of defrauding investors of money.

Ignatova established the investment firm OneCoin and announced the creation of a new cryptocurrency to compete with Bitcoin. "OneCoin would be the ‘Bitcoin killer’," she promised. The educated, charismatic German quickly gained investors' confidence. She defrauded them of over £3.3 billion.

In 2017, the woman boarded a plane from Sofia, Bulgaria to Athens, Greece. After that, she vanished without a trace. Despite the years passing, the "Cryptoqueen" remains elusive. Two years ago, Ignatova was added to the FBI's top ten most wanted list. She ranks alongside murderers and gang leaders (she is the only woman on the list).

The search for the "Cryptoqueen". FBI offers £4 million

Not long ago, the FBI was offering £80,000, then £200,000 for information leading to Ignatova's arrest. Now the U.S. Department of State announced the reward has increased to... £4 million! For comparison, that is the same amount offered for information about the head of one of the largest drug cartels in Europe.

We are offering a reward up to $5 million (£4 million) for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of German national Ruja Ignatova, known as 'Cryptoqueen,' for her role in one of the largest global fraud schemes in history, said U.S. Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller, quoted by the BBC.

The new reward is part of the State Department's Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program.

Jamie Bartlett, a British journalist following the case, believes the increase in the reward aims to reach those who likely continue to protect Ignatova. Those who know the woman claim she offers large amounts of money for silence.

"$100,000 (£80,000) wouldn’t persuade a junior member of a crime syndicate or a personal bodyguard to call the FBI’s hotline - it’s far too risky. But $5m (£4 million) just might," assesses the journalist.

Related content