In New York, a person primarily responsible for the fictional cryptocurrency Onecoin has pleaded guilty to three counts. All face up to 20 years in prison, according to the New York State Attorney’s Office. Karl Sebastian Greenwood, 45, who holds Swedish and British nationality, founded OneCoin with the sole purpose of defrauding investors.
In total, more than four billion US dollars were poured into the fraudulent cryptocurrency, Greenwood received around 20 million per month. He was arrested in Thailand in July 2018, and the alleged inventor of OneCoin – the “queen of crypto” – is still wanted around the world.
“We say shit to people
Greenwood founded OneCoin in 2014 together with Ruja Ignatova as a company in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Prosecutors say emails show it was a Ponzi scheme from the get-go. Anyone who recruited others to buy the cryptocurrency received commissions, which sparked immense growth to three million participants. Internally though, they were talking about “scrap coin” and making sure the idea “doesn’t work with smart people ;)”.
On Ignatova’s instructions, Greenwood made sure OneCoin was worth more after each trading day than it was in the morning. The alleged value of 0.50 euros eventually rose to 29.95 euros per coin. There was no real cryptocurrency infrastructure such as a blockchain, nor the mined OneCoins as claimed: “We don’t really mine – but tell people shit,” the prosecutor quoted Ignatova as saying.
Born in Bulgaria in 1980, German national Ignatova has been in hiding since October 2017. She is one of the most wanted people by Interpol and Europol worldwide. According to the police, she should have significant financial resources and worldwide support and contacts because of her actions. She may have changed her appearance. Ignatova’s brother, Konstantin Ignatov, was arrested in March 2019 in the United States. He had taken over the management of Onecoin from mid-2018. In Germany, financial regulator Bafin banned sales of Onecoin in May 2017.