A lawyer representing investors defrauded by the infamous Onecoin crypto scam has called on Bulgarian authorities to act on the case, claiming that the “world’s largest pyramid scheme” is still operating from land. In a petition to the Bulgarian Constitutional Ombudsman, Jonathan Levy accused Sofia officials of not doing justice to the victims while appearing to protect “the most notorious criminal organization”.
Lawyer criticizes Bulgarian authorities for “misfeasance” in the Onecoin case
In the petition, Dr. Levy points out that Onecoin has been recognized as a criminal enterprise by a number of countries including the United States, Argentina, and Germany, and has been classified as a pyramid scheme by law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. At the same time, the € 20 billion cryptocurrency scam allegedly maintains multiple offices in the Bulgarian capital, uses a range of corporate identities, continues to operate unabated and even held a recruiting event last summer.
The Onecoin crypto-ponzi program was launched in 2014 and is supported by the Dubai-based offshore company Onecoin Ltd, based in Bulgaria, and Onelife Network Ltd., registered in Belize. Applied. Both were made by the mastermind of the pyramid, the Bulgarian-born “Crypto Queen” Dr. Ruja Ignatova, also a German citizen and a doctorate in European private law, and her partner Sebastian Greenwood from Sweden.
Ignatova disappeared in 2017 while her brother Konstantin Ignatov, another Onecoin co-founder, was arrested in Los Angeles in 2019 and charged with financial crimes. He has since worked with law enforcement agencies, testifying about Onecoin’s links to organized crime in Bulgaria and elsewhere, pleading guilty and asking for witness protection. The program is also linked to terrorist financing. A number of people involved in the investigation and trial, including Ignatov, have complained about legal and other threats.
The document presented by Jonathan Levy lists a number of other key figures in the fraud, claiming that “the Ignatovs, Onecoin and their proxies in Bulgaria and Dubai currently have movable and immovable property, investments, cryptocurrencies, bank accounts and cash in excess of 12.5 billion Control euro “. “($ 14.2 billion).
Criticizing the Bulgarian authorities for their limited action in the case, the lawyer recalled a single general warning against Onecoin issued in 2015 by the Financial Oversight Commission, which later ignored the matter, as well as police raids on their Sofia offices in 2018 by Ivan Geshev, who now acts as the Bulgarian General Prosecutor and is led at the request of Europol and the German police. Levy also says:
We are not aware of any arrests or seizures of bank accounts, cash, cryptocurrency, or property of the victims. If the Bulgarian law enforcement authorities seized assets, they did not provide public accounting or a procedure to compensate victims.
According to the legal representative, Onecoin is the largest pyramid system in world history, surpassing both the Madoff and Mavrodi pyramids. However, the complaint lodged mainly relates to the Bulgarian operation of Onecoin, the full extent of which remains unknown, and addresses “the wrongdoing of the Bulgarian law enforcement authorities in relation to their EU-mandated obligations towards victims of crime”.
In the petition, which was filed on behalf of clients from a number of countries including the UK, US, Germany and Australia, Jonathan Levy highlights that onecoin victims have access under Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and similar provisions in Bulgarian law granted to justice which they have not yet received from Bulgaria. He blames the country, an EU member state, and says it “appears to protect and enable OneCoin to keep its assets and continue to operate despite being the most notorious criminal organization of the 21st century”.
The petitioner urges Bulgaria to be accountable for Crypto Scam’s assets, including Ignatova’s € 12 billion bitcoin stash
Levy called for the Bulgarian Ombudsman to investigate the behavior of various government institutions such as the Prosecutor General, the Justice and Interior Ministries and the country’s financial information directorate. He also insists on taking steps to end “Onecoin’s open and public operation in Bulgaria that continues to harass investors worldwide”.
The lawyer also needs the assistance of the Bulgarian authorities to capture the Onecoin assets controlled by Bulgaria, which according to the document allegedly consist of 230,000 bitcoins, cash, yachts, luxury cars, jewelry and precious metals, bank accounts, investments and real estate in order to determine whether they are still in the possession of Ignatova and her staff or whether they have been confiscated by Bulgaria.
Jonathan Levy also insists that the Sofia government meet its obligations to compensate Onecoin victims under European law such as Directive 2012/29 / EU of the European Parliament and Directive 2004/80 / EC of the EU Council of April 29, 2004 follows.
The petitioner also calls for “a monetary bonus of up to 1 billion euros to be set” to encourage Onecoin employees to step forward and provide information about the crypto investment fraud and its activities, “particularly in relation to the 230,000 bitcoins in possession are located”. from Ruja Ignatova or her deputies, currently valued at over 12 billion euros. ”The money for this purpose, suggests Dr. Levy before, should come from up to 10% of the Onecoin assets recovered.
Reports in the Bulgarian press confirm that Onecoin companies are still operating in the country. According to an article in the business newspaper Capital, the One Network Services unit, formerly owned by Konstantin Ignatov and Ruja’s mother and running the Onecoin main office in central Sofia, is actually expanding its workforce – from 17 employees at the end of last year to now until 24 The release indicates that the company reported 2020 sales of over 2.9 million leva (over $ 1.7 million) with net income of 75,000 leva (over $ 43,000).
The once open cryptocenter on the ground floor of a building in Slaveykov Square is now closed, but Onecoin leaders have posted photos of meetings held there during their visits to Sofia, according to Capital. The active promoters of the cryptocurrency investment system renamed Oneecosystem are new faces, and few of them are actually Bulgarians.
Do you expect the authorities in Sofia to take action against Onecoin following the petition of the Bulgarian Ombudsman’s victims? Let us know in the comments section below.
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