Ruja Ignatova Associate Ordered Extradited to the United States
A U.K. Judge on Tuesday ordered OneCoin associate Christopher Hamilton to be extradited to the United States to face charges of money laundering and wire fraud stemming from the OneCoin scam.
Hamilton is accused of laundering $105 million of the $4 billion allegedly stolen from investors in the massive OneCoin scam headed by the so-called "CryptoQueen," Ruja Ignatova, who has been on the run from authorities since 2017.
Ignatova is meanwhile accused of making false statements and representations to investors, instructing victims to send wire transfers to OneCoin to purchase OneCoin education packages.
On this #FugitiveFriday, check out the latest episode of #InsideTheFBI to learn how Ruja Ignatova, also known as the "Cryptoqueen," became the newest addition to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Listen now on your favorite #podcast player: — FBI (@FBI) August 26, 2022
The promoters behind OneCoin, launched in 2014, claimed it was a mineable cryptocurrency with a max supply of 120 billion coins, but in actuality, OneCoin's blockchain did not exist.
According to a report by Law360, the extradition order is related to millions of dollars paid by Gilbert Armenta, a Florida financier linked to Ignatova, to accounts controlled by Hamilton in the name of an entity called Viola Asset Management.
Lawyers for Hamilton and fellow accused OneCoin associate Robert McDonald attempted to have the extradition order blocked, arguing the "alleged wrongdoings" took place in the U.K. and that it is almost impossible to know where most of the harm from the OneCoin fraud occurred.
Attorneys for the United States argued that the conduct occurred in the U.S. as the funds flowed to and from bank accounts in the U.S. and that the case concerns cross-border crime. The court sided with the United States and ordered Hamilton's extradition, saying, "this issue does not operate as an effective bar to the extradition" of either man.
The court did not include McDonald in the extradition order, however, saying that extraditing him would unfairly infringe his human right to respect for family life due to McDonald caring for who the court called "his extremely ill wife."
In June, Ignatova was added to the FBI Ten Most Wanted list with a $100,000 reward after being added to Europol’s most wanted list in May.Source