A BULGARIAN crypto mogul on the FBI’s most wanted list may have just unknowingly revealed herself to authorities.
Oxford-educated entrepreneur Dr Ruja Ignatova built a crypto empire and convinced millions worldwide to invest in what she dubbed “The Bitcoin Killer”.
But the clever thief may have just given her whereabouts to the police after being on the run for 6 years.
Ms Ignatova‘s luxury London penthouse was listed for sale online earlier this week, leading many to believe Ruja orchestrated it herself.
The four-bed apartment reportedly contained around £500,000 worth of artwork, including Andy Warhol paintings.
The amazing property went up for sale on Knight Frank’s website with an asking price of £12.5million which was then downgraded to £11million.
The real estate company quickly took down the listing when it was revealed it had links to the notorious criminal crypto queen.
Ms Ignatova reportedly purchased the property under a company name, but a new change in UK law meant she had to come forth as the owner.
By purchasing the home under a company name, Ms Ignatova’s name was was kept out of public records until this week.
Investigative reporter Jamie Bartlett, host of “The Missing Cryptoqueen” podcast, flagged the suspicious listing to the police.
He told iNews: “The world’s most wanted woman is now officially listed as the ultimate beneficial owner of a London penthouse.”
The fugitive began her company OneCoin alongside her business partner, Sebastian Greenwood, in 2014.
They pitched their billion-pound idea to investors, promising a lucrative return on investments if they entered into business with the two entrepreneurs.
She boasted it was faster, cheaper and more secure than its rival – with people from 175 countries signing up to get rich quick.
With no blockchain set up – the digital ledger that acts the foundation to manage crypto – the coin was worthless.
The FBI has estimated the now-defunct company’s value to have reached nearly £3.2billion pounds, before Ms Ignatova disappeared from the radar with the money.
The scammer hasn’t been seen since October 2017, and remains as the only woman on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted fugitives list.
Authorities think the crypto queen may have travelled using a German passport to the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Russia, Eastern Europe or even back to Bulgaria.
Police believe she’s used her riches to change her appearance with extreme plastic surgery, which left hopes low that she would ever be found again.
Her co-founder Sebastian Greenwood was arrested in 2018 and her brother Konstantin Ignatov pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering in connection with the scheme in 2019.
He is yet to be sentenced after his May 2021 hearing was pushed back, but he faces up to 90 years in prison.
But the recent developments are providing hope to those who Ms Ignatova scammed.
Bartlett said: “It suggests she is still alive, and there are documents out there somewhere which contain vital clues as to her recent whereabouts.
“If nothing else it should make it easier for the authorities to freeze that asset – and maybe even start getting money back to victims.”