Reports Claim UK’s Financial Conduct Authority 'Pressurized' to Remove Onecoin Scam Warning
A recent episode of the popular BBC Sounds podcast the “Missing Cryptoqueen” has shown the public a very interesting view of the powerful Onecoin Ponzi. According to two witnesses the BBC interviewed, a London law firm and a reputation management company allegedly managed to get the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take down a Onecoin warning.
The Bulgaria-based Ponzi scheme Onecoin was once described by The Times as “one of the biggest scams in history” managing to net $4 billion from operations. The pyramid scheme has become a hot topic over the years, and it’s invoked the BBC Sounds podcast the “Missing Cryptoqueen.”
The show stars the British author and journalist, Jamie Bartlett, and its also produced by the well known documentary producer Georgia Catt. The latest BBC Sounds podcast episode 9, dives into the continued search for Onecoin’s missing leader Ruja Ignatova, otherwise known as the ‘Cryptoqueen.’
During the episode, Bartlett explains how the Cryptoqueen’s brother, Konstantin Ignatov, has been working with U.S. law enforcement. Ignatov told the court a tale about Ruja’s relationship with Gilbert Armenta and how Ruja allegedly took off with powerful Russians.
Then Bartlett discusses two individuals who had information on a London law firm and a “crisis management PR company.” One of the men was a lawyer named Gary Gilford and the other was a former Chelgate employee Simon Harris. Chelgate is the reputation management company that ostensibly helped Onecoin avoid problems.
Both Gilford and Harris never met each other, but they both told a tale of how the London law firm and Chelgate managed to get the FCA to remove the Onecoin warning issued in September 2016. Ten months later, the FCA warning, which warned retail investors about investing in the Onecoin project, was removed.
Harris explained that Chelgate worked with the law firm in order to “pressurize” the FCA into “weakening” the regulator’s efforts against Onecoin. The witnesses say that the Cryptoqueen and many high up members of the Ponzi were super pleased with the FCA warning removal. The discussion with the former Chelgate employee Harris begins at the 22:00 minute mark during the “Missing Cryptoqueen” episode.
Meanwhile, one of the Onecoin leaders, Sebastian Greenwood had his pre-trial conference on Friday. Matthew Russell Lee from the Inner City Press reported from the courtroom, and explained that Greenwood’s next court date will be on October 5. Greenwood has been charged but the court seems to be having difficulty with specific court processes. The lawyers say that “video conferences take ten days to set up”
“We haven’t given all of the discovery due to discussions of a pre-trial disposition,” Greenwood’s prosecutors said. “We’ve shown him his own emails to show him his knowledge and involvement from the very beginning of this fraud scheme.”
Additionally, it appears that Onecoin investors Donald Berdeaux and Christine Grablis have agreed to settle with Konstantin Ignatov. The amount of funds agreed upon is not disclosed, but the two plaintiffs represent investors who suffered losses between 2014-2018.
“Plaintiffs and defendant Konstantin Ignatov (together, the “Parties”) wish to discontinue between them without prejudice the claims asserted against Defendant Ignatov while not impeding in any way Plaintiffs’ further prosecution of their claims against the other defendants in this action,” the court filing detailed.
The report from the Inner City Press also reveals that Konstantin Ignatov’s plea deal is a bit of a mystery. “Now in August 2020 a question has arisen,” explains Lee’s report. “Where is Konstantin Ignatov? After his sentencing was published back four months from July 8, as Inner City Press reported, now his lawyer in a filing in the civil case Grablis v. Onecoin Ltd has asked for an extension stating ‘Mr. Ignatov is presently incarcerated.’”
“But the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website, for the one Konstantin Ignatov in the system, says ‘Released On: 03/13/2020,’” Lee’s report adds. Even when cooperators are in the private GEO jail the BOP uses, they are listed as incarcerated. So where is Konstantin Ignatov?” the reporter asked.
What do you think about the recent findings concerning the Onecoin Ponzi scheme? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, FCA logo, Missing Cryptoqueen logo, BBC Sounds
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