There’s More Evidence ‘Cryptoqueen’ Was Murdered by Drug Kingpin: BBC

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There's More Evidence 'Cryptoqueen' Was Murdered by Drug Kingpin: BBC
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There’s now more evidence that missing Cryptoqueen Dr. Ruja Ignatova might have been murdered by a Bulgarian drug kingpin because she had become a “liability,” according to a new episode of the BBC’s The Missing Cryptoqueen podcast.

A new episode of “The Missing Cryptoqueen” podcast seems to back up last year’s reports that Ignatova had ties to the Bulgarian underworld and was murdered.

In 2014, Ignatova launched OneCoin, a “revolutionary” new mineable cryptocurrency with a maximum supply of 120 billion coins, designed to mimic the success of Bitcoin. Over the next few years, she raised millions of dollars in investment, but it eventually became apparent that OneCoin was a scam. With multiple investigations looking into her, Ignatova disappeared in October 2017 after taking a flight from Bulgaria to Greece.

In 2019, the BBC Sounds podcast The Missing Cryptoqueen started investigating the scam and Ignatova’s eventual disappearance. Then, in 2022, the FBI added her to their Top Ten Most Wanted list, where she remains to this day.

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In 2023, an investigation by Bulgarian news outlet Bird reported that Ignatova was killed in 2018 after being handed documents that were reportedly found in the possession of a murdered Bulgarian police official. Those documents, which have since been verified, claim her murder was ordered by a drug kingpin known as Taki and that her body was then dumped into the Ionian Sea.

According to a new report from the BBC World Service’s Eye Investigations and Panorama, Ignatova had been paying Taki for protection while he had been using the OneCoin network to launder money.

“We do have evidence that a very significant, if not the most prolific, drug trafficker of all time in Bulgaria was closely linked to OneCoin [and] served as [Ruja Ignatova’s] personal security guard,” an assistant attorney told the BBC in 2019, with Taki thought to be earning $100,000 a month for his services.

The new Missing Cryptoqueen episode also reports that a number of sources have told them that Ruja was murdered by Taki because she had become a “liability” due to the number of investigations that OneCoin was facing. “Knowing how violent cartels are, if [Taki] thought she was a threat to him, he would probably take her out instead of getting caught,” said former IRS reporter Richard Reinhardt.

Leaked documents from former spy Frank Schneider apparently confirm that Operation Satellite, the codename of the international police investigation into Ruja and OneCoin, was looking into her relationship with Taki.

In 2023, Kuro, a member of Taki’s organization, his wife, and two other people were murdered in Cape Town. While police are still searching for the killers, Bulgarian former deputy minister Ivan Hristanov called the “public execution” a “statement.”

“Certain people had to be removed because they knew too much about Taki,” he added.

“It’s a good theory. It’s credible,” said the team behind The Missing Cryptoqueen podcast, but they also believe that rumors surrounding Ruja’s death could be spread to help her stay hidden. There have been numerous sightings of Dr. Ruja in recent years, and the FBI has yet to remove her from their Top Ten Most Wanted list.

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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