Who is Ruja Ignatova? Only woman on FBI Most Wanted list could be hiding in Mediterranean

The woman reportedly went missing after being accused of defrauding investors of more than $4 billion through a cryptocurrency company


                            Who is Ruja Ignatova? Only woman on FBI Most Wanted list could be hiding in Mediterranean
Ruja Ignatova (pictured) became only the 11th addition to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most-wanted list in its 72-year history (FBI)
ADVERTISEMENT

Ruja Ignatova, popularly known as the "missing Cryptoqueen," could be hiding from the authorities on the high seas of the Mediterranean after being added to the FBI's most-wanted list, according to a new theory.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ignatova became only the 11th addition to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most-wanted list in its 72-year history. The woman reportedly went missing after being accused of defrauding investors of more than $4 billion through a cryptocurrency company. The federal agency said Ignatova might have been tipped off that international authorities were probing her. She was last seen on October 25, 2017, after traveling from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece.

ADVERTISEMENT

RELATED ARTICLES

Who is Do Kwon? TerraUSD founder alleged to be behind crypto bloodbath

Bitcoin crash: Matt Damon BLAMED for pushing 'pyramid scheme' as crypto.com lays off 260 workers

ADVERTISEMENT

Who is Ruja Ignatova? 

42-year-old Ruja Ignatova is wanted for her alleged role in running a cryptocurrency scam known as 'OneCoin' which was once dubbed the 'Bitcoin Killer.' As mentioned, the Bulgarian woman is accused of using the scheme to defraud victims out of more than $4 billion. She fled the authorities after US officials signed an arrest warrant for her in 2017 and investigators began closing in on her. In 2014, OneCoin began offering prospective buyers a commission if they sold the currency to more people. However, the self-described cryptocurrency was reportedly worthless, as FBI agents said it was never safeguarded by the blockchain technology used by other major cryptocurrencies. Federal prosecutors have said OneCoin was essentially a Ponzi scheme disguised as a cryptocurrency.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

Now, investigators Jamie Bartlett and Rob Byrne of 'The Missing Cryptoqueen' podcast have come up with a theory that Ignatova may be hiding out in a luxury yacht on the Mediterranean, away from any law enforcement jurisdiction in the world. "Based on hundreds of sources, including insiders in the world of luxury yachts and penthouses that Ignatova inhabited, my theory is that she had been living in her native Bulgaria, then later Dubai, where she has been linked to a multi-million-pound mansion in a high-security complex," Bartlett wrote in an article for the Daily Mail. "And when the Gulf state, at first a welcoming haven, became too hot to handle, I believe Ignatova set off again – for international waters. My theory is that she is living the high life on board a private superyacht bobbing around in the Mediterranean."

ADVERTISEMENT



 

Ignatova is believed to have undergone plastic surgery to alter her appearance, besides dyeing her dark hair blonde and losing weight. Bartlett acknowledged the possibility that the fraudster is dead, considering she mingled with some rather dangerous associates, including powerful Russian and Bulgarian crime syndicates. However, he said multiple sightings of late suggested otherwise. Bartlett explained his "astonishing theory" that the so-called Cryptoqueen is "floating on the high seas" where no national police force has the jurisdiction to arrest her.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

After striking off several theories, Bartlett and Byrne were left with "one final, incredible, possibility" that Ignatova has abandoned land permanently for a life at sea on board a private yacht. "If you stay 12 nautical miles – about 13.8 miles – from a coastline, you are on the high seas. No country has jurisdiction over you and no police force has the legal authority to arrest you," Bartlett wrote. He said that an anonymous source had reached out to them in early 2021, claiming that someone they knew had spotted Ignatova in 2019 on a boat in the Mediterranean, before further alleged sightings were reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

Private investigators spoke to staff in high-end restaurants in Athens with photos of Ignatova before they said she had been there with a sizeable entourage. Shortly after, another source with inside knowledge said she had been spotted more than once in summer 2019 near Saint Tropez in France. "They said she had been moored somewhere out at sea in a large yacht, occasionally visiting land by speedboat," Bartlett noted, before asking, "Was it really possible she could be living at sea?" Only time will tell.

ADVERTISEMENT

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.