Ruja Ignatova

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Ruja Ignatova
Born (1980-05-30) May 30, 1980 (age 40)
Sofia, Bulgaria
Known forOneCoin Ponzi scheme
Criminal chargeFraud
Penalty14 months' suspended imprisonment for a previous case. Up to 90 years for the Ponzi scheme

Ruja Ignatova (Bulgarian: Ружа Игнатова) (born May 30, 1980) is a convicted Bulgarian fraudster. She is best known as the founder of a Ponzi scheme known as OneCoin, which The Times has described as "one of the biggest scams in history".[1][2][3] She was the subject of the 2019 BBC podcast series The Missing Cryptoqueen.[4]

Since 2017, she has been on the run from law enforcement, including the FBI. In early 2019, she was charged in absentia by U.S. authorities for wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, she emigrated to Germany with her family when she was ten years old, and spent part of her childhood in Schramberg in the state of Baden-Württemberg.[5] In 2005, she earned a PhD in European private law from the University of Constance with the dissertation Art. 5 Nr. 1 EuGVO – Chancen und Perspektiven der Reform des Gerichtsstands am Erfüllungsort; which discusses lex causae in conflict of laws.[6]

Criminal activities[edit]

In 2012, she was convicted of fraud in Germany in connection with her and her father Plamen Ignatov's acquisition of a company that shortly afterwards was declared bankrupt in dubious circumstances; she was given a suspended sentence of 14 months' imprisonment.[7][8]

In 2013, she was involved with a multi-level marketing scam called BigCoin[9]

In 2014, she founded a Ponzi scheme called OneCoin. In 2017, she disappeared.[1] In 2019, her brother Konstantin Ignatov pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering in connection with the scheme.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Ruja's German ex-husband works as a lawyer in Frankfurt. Their daughter was born in 2016.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then ran". BBC. November 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Cellan-Jones, Rory (September 26, 2019). "The mystery of the disappearing 'Cryptoqueen'". BBC.
  3. ^ Bartlett, Jamie (December 15, 2019). "The £4bn OneCoin scam: how crypto-queen Dr Ruja Ignatova duped ordinary people out of billions — then went missing". The Times.
  4. ^ "Is OneCoin The Biggest Financial Fraud in History?". Fortune.
  5. ^ a b c "Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then ran". November 24, 2019 – via
  6. ^ "Abgeschlossene Promotionen | Promotionen | Forschung | Lehrstuhl für Bürgerliches Recht, Zivilprozessrecht, Internationales Privatrecht und Rechtsvergleichung - Prof. Dr. Astrid Stadler | Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaft".
  7. ^ Stier, Frank. "Das Verstummen der Cryptoqueen". heise online.
  8. ^ "So etwas Dubioses nie erlebt". January 20, 2012.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "'Cryptoqueen' brother admits role in OneCoin fraud". November 14, 2019 – via

External links[edit]