The Cryptic Ties: Investigating the Missing Cryptoqueen’s Connections to the Bulgarian Underworld

In September 2019, a BBC podcast embarked on the gripping story of Ruja Ignatova, a Bulgarian woman accused by the FBI of defrauding investors of $4.5 billion through a counterfeit cryptocurrency scheme known as OneCoin, before mysteriously disappearing.

Now, our investigation aims to uncover her fate. Collaborating with BBC Eye Investigations and Panorama, we delve into her close associations with a suspected Bulgarian organized crime figure and explore allegations of her brutal demise. Did Ignatova abscond with the stolen billions, or did she meet a tragic end at the hands of those entrusted to safeguard her?

Ruja Ignatova, an Oxford University alumna born in Bulgaria and raised in Germany, initially carved out a successful career in finance before launching OneCoin in 2014. Under the alias “Dr. Ruja,” she enticed millions worldwide with promises of extraordinary returns akin to early Bitcoin investors.

However, beneath the surface, Ignatova had crafted an intricate investment swindle devoid of the digital transparency inherent in legitimate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. As German and US authorities closed in on her in October 2017, Ignatova boarded a Ryanair flight from Sofia to Athens at dawn, never to be sighted again.

For the past year, BBC World Service’s Eye Investigations and Panorama have tirelessly sought to unravel the mystery surrounding Ignatova’s disappearance and ascertain her current status. Central to our inquiry is uncovering her inner circle.

Richard Reinhardt, a key figure in the investigation into OneCoin for the US Internal Revenue Service in collaboration with the FBI, divulged to the BBC critical details about an undisclosed individual central to the case.


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