- A Munich lawyer and a couple are accused of banking crimes and money fraud in Germany.
- Prosecutors allege that the three persons are associates of Ruja Ignatova, founder of the multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency scam OneCoin.
- The crypto pyramid scam generated over $3.3 billion in revenue between 2014 and 2016, per reports.
Three people who were allegedly part of the cryptocurrency pyramid scheme OneCoin stood trial for the first time in a German court on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.
Prosecutors claimed that the three persons including a lawyer from Munich and a couple were associates of OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova, also known as the Cryptoqueen after the company was outed as an international multi-billion fraud operation.
The charges are built around banking crimes, fraud, and money laundering allegations. Per Tuesday’s report, the lawyer supposedly handled asset transactions worth $19.7 million (€20 million) on behalf of Ignatova who is wanted by authorities and at large at press time.
Two other persons identified as a husband and wife are accused of facilitating €320 million in OneCoin customer payments in a 12-month period.
OneCoin – The Cryptoqueen’s Multi-billion Dollar Pyramid Scheme
Indeed, Ignatova’s pyramid scheme remains one of the largest scams in crypto’s history. The Cryptoqueen built her illicit wealth by pitching OneCoin in 2014 as a digital asset with high-growth value when in fact the token was a scam, said German prosecutors on Tuesday.
Ignatova claimed the market mechanisms were in charge of the token’s market value and that OneCoin was heavily mined. Prosecutor branded the pitch as false and said “In reality, the ever-growing value was a fake, and the mining process was only simulated by the software”.
Between 2014 and 2016, OneCoin generated over $3 billion in revenue before Ignatova went underground in 2017. The Cryptoqueen has not been seen since then and continues to evade law enforcement.
Ignatova was charged with wire fraud by U.S. prosecutors. German authorities continue to investigate the matter at press time.
The operation remains one of several crypto scams plaguing the burgeoning digital asset industry. Authorities like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also launched probes into persons like Ian Balina over possible fraud and securities violations.
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