After five years spent in the shadows, Dr. Ruja Ignatova — the alleged crypto scam artist who, along with business partner Sebastian Greenwood, has been accused of stealing roughly $4 billion from hopeful investors — is back. Sort of.
Ignatova, better known as the “Cryptoqueen,” was reportedly named last month in a property document filed by the British government as a beneficial owner of a recently-listed luxury penthouse property in London, which according to Decrypt was purchased through a separate group called Abbots House Penthouse Limited. Though Ignatova had purchased the property under that company name back in 2016, a relatively new British law, per Decrypt, requires that company beneficiaries also be named in full for the sale to go through.
In other words, by some reports, it very much looks like Ignatova, who hasn’t been seen in five years, was forced to crawl out of the weeds — barely — to put the multimillion-dollar London flat up for sale. (Unfortunately for the Cryptoqueen, the property’s lister took the flat off the market once they realized that the seller was a globally wanted fraudster.)
“It suggests she is still alive,” Jamie Bartlett, who hosts “The Missing Crypto Queen” podcast on the BBC, told the UK outlet iNews, “and there are documents out there somewhere which contain vital clues as to her recent whereabouts.”
“If nothing else,” he added, “it should make it easier for the authorities to freeze that asset — and maybe even start getting money back to victims.”
The details of the property do vary slightly between reports — the BBC says that the property could instead be traced back to “German prosecutors” involved with the case — and it’s also not like Ignatova was wearing a name tag and yelling in the street.
Still, any hint at a resurfacing feels like a big deal. Ignatova, who convinced roughly three million unique investors to put their money into a phony cryptocurrency called OneCoin, is currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted list— the only woman to crack the top ten (girlboss.) Also, as a general rule, five years is a long time to fly completely under the radar.
That said, though, while we’d like to get our hopes up for the defrauded OneCoin investors, Ignatova has proven to be extremely good at international high-stakes hide-and-seek. We’re not convinced we’ll actually be seeing her anytime too soon.