Bulgaria to press charges against fugitive cryptocurrency fraudster

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Bulgaria will press charges against fugitive Ruja Ignatova, the so-called Cryptoqueen who co-founded a cryptocurrency scheme that regulators believe defrauded investors of more than $4 billion, the chief prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Bulgarian-born Ignatova, who has German citizenship, has been on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list since 2022 for fraud and money laundering. The U.S. agency is offering $5 million for information leading to her arrest for what it called "one of the largest global fraud schemes in history."

The Balkan country's authorities will conduct a joint investigation with the FBI into Ignatova, who founded OneCoin in Sofia in 2014, chief prosecutor Borislav Sarafov said.

"She will also be charged in absentia in our country, which will allow the start of a procedure for the confiscation of her illegally acquired property."

Another OneCoin co-founder, Karl Sebastian Greenwood, was sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison in September and ordered to forfeit $300 million for creating the pyramid scheme.

OneCoin's former head of legal and compliance was sentenced in April to four years in U.S. prison.

(Reporting by Stoyan Nenov in Sofia and Ivana Sekularac in Belgrade; Editing by Richard Chang)