A former boyfriend of Ruja Ignatova, the mastermind of the Ponzi scheme Onecoin, has received five years in prison. The sentence is for the laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of proceeds from the notorious crypto scam which defrauded investors around the world.
Ruja’s Former Boyfriend Sentenced for Money Laundering Linked to Onecoin
Gilbert Armenta, the ex-boyfriend of crypto pyramid Onecoin’s founder Ruja Ignatova, has been sentenced in the United States, Bloomberg Law reported. According to court documents, he helped launder $300 million of proceeds from one of the largest Ponzi schemes in crypto history.
In 2018, Armenta, now 59, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, money laundering and extortion, all in connection with Onecoin. He cooperated with prosecutors in the investigation into the scam for about two years but later committed other crimes, violating the agreement.
Founded in 2014, Onecoin operated as a global multi-level-marketing network, which was based on a cryptocurrency that never really existed as such, despite being advertised as the ‘Bitcoin killer.’ According to Onecoin’s own documents, more than 3 million people invested over $4 billion in Onecoin since 2016.
Bulgarian-born German national Ruja Ignatova disappeared in October 2017, when she boarded a Ryanair flight in Sofia bound for Athens. Still, at large, she is wanted by Interpol, Europol, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Her brother and co-founder, Konstantin, who was detained in Los Angeles in 2019, pleaded guilty to charges related to Onecoin and sought witness protection in the U.S. In December 2022, another co-founder, British and Swedish citizen Karl Sebastian Greenwood, also pleaded guilty to his part in the scam.
Crypto Pyramid Mastermind Ruja Ignatova Still Missing
Information about Ignatova’s whereabouts and activities has periodically surfaced in media reports. Last July, the leading Greek daily Kathimerini unveiled that the Hellenic Police had tried to locate and arrest her, acting on intelligence indicating she was in the country and holding meetings with unidentified persons.
In January of this year, British media uncovered that a $15-million apartment bought by the “missing Cryptoqueen” through a company based on the island of Guernsey had been offered for sale. A BBC report on the matter revealed that the Kensington penthouse had been listed with the approval of authorities in Germany.
Prosecutors in the city of Bielefeld have accused a German lawyer who worked for Ignatova, Martin Breidenbach, of money laundering for the transfer of €20 million (over $21 million) for the purchase of the four-bedroom apartment. In October, he appeared in court, along with two Onecoin associates, to face charges of fraud and other crimes.
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