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Monday, March 27, 2023

Shopping with the richest Cryptoqueen

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The poor men followed her, loaded like donkeys, barely holding their breath, each carrying 20 bags. This is how Ruzha Ignatova describes the return of a former porter of the building in the elite London district of Kensington from a tour of expensive boutiques and her Bulgarian bodyguards to her luxury apartment. With this incident in 2016, the BBC launched another investigation into the missing “crypto queen” Dr. Rouge, who found that through a company on the offshore zone on the island of Guernsey, the Bulgarian cryptoqeen owns a home for almost 13.5 million pounds in the British capital. .

The publication of the podcast “The Missing Cryptoqueen” this time is also part of the revelations in the “Pandora” Dossiers – a huge array of data on who is behind companies registered in offshore areas with hidden owners. The authors of the podcast promise more series in 2022.

The fraud of Ruzha Ignatova, who sold something non-existent – the cryptocurrency OneCoin – amounts to 4 billion euros and in Europe cases are already underway in several countries. A trial against her German lawyer, Martin Breidenbach, began on September 17 in Munster on charges of money laundering and transferring 20m euros to London to buy the luxury property.

Two others are facing charges of embezzling millions of euros in the scheme, which, according to the BBC, has cost more than 100 million pounds in the UK alone. There are also cases of major fraud against Ignatova in the United States, and her brother Konstantin has been arrested and is in prison. The authors describe that it was from Briedenbach’s case that the four-bedroom apartment with a movable roof pool in the building known as the Abbots House was found out.

According to an eyewitness account, the 650-square-meter apartment was full not only of purchases from luxury brands, but also of paintings by Andy Warhol and Michael Möbius. A photo shows a porcelain plate with the image of Ignatova herself. Later, it became clear from which London gallery works were bought for hundreds of thousands of pounds, raising the question of whether Ignatova deliberately did not invest money in jewelry, valuables and paintings that can be easily and quickly exported, so as not to be confiscated.

The key is the revelation that Ruzha Ignatova owned a property on British territory with the help of the offshore services company Aquitaine Group. The British investigation against the Bulgarian woman was terminated in September 2019, explaining that “no assets of OneCoin have been identified in the United Kingdom.” Two months later, in another case, the name of the company Abbots House Penthouse Limited appeared on the island of Guernsey. The American law firm Locke Lord with an office in London noticed something wrong with the source of the translation of 20 million euros.

The investigation leads to her former employee Mark Scott, against whom a lawsuit for money laundering is initiated in the USA and it is understood that Ruzha Ignatova’s companies gave the money for the purchase of the luxury property in Kensington, the BBC reports. She has rarely appeared in the apartment since 2016, a time when she seems to be looking to establish a lasting presence in London, as she opened an office in an expensive building near Hyde Park in an area where the elite caves of Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Victoria. A lavish celebration was organized for her 36th birthday at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

On October 25, 2017, Ruzha boarded a Ryanair plane from Sofia to Athens and disappeared without a trace. But in July 2018, her brother Constantine, who headed the fraud scheme after her, posted a selfie taken in the same apartment in Kensington. The investigation established that there was another smaller one-bedroom apartment for 1.9 million pounds in the building, in which their security guard lived.

Ruzha Ignatova’s name is again missing from the property registers in Great Britain, because the buyer is the offshore company from Guernsey. Constantine was arrested on March 6, 2019 at Los Angeles International Airport and charged with conspiracy to defraud. Frank Schneider, a former head of an intelligence agency in Luxembourg, arrested in France at the request of US authorities in April 2021 and awaiting a decision in November to extradite him, also appeared at the London address.

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