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‘Crypto Queen’ Behind OneCoin Scandal is Suspected to be Murdered: BBC Investigates

Sujha Sundararajan
Last updated: | 2 min read

Ruja Ignatova, also known as ‘crypto queen’ and the only women in the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list, might have been murdered by a Bulgarian drug lord, also her hired bodyguard.

BBC’s investigation team has published new evidence on the alleged murder of the crypto fraudster, liked to organized crime.

Ignatova, the infamous Bulgarian woman, was involved in promoting a fake cryptocurrency dubbed ‘OneCoin’ in 2014. She convinced millions of users to invest in the crypto, promising multi-fold returns. Ignatova later fled with investor’s money, which was then valued at $4.5 billion.

The intensity of the scam led to global attention, arresting several key persons linked to the Ponzi scheme. The latest in the arrest was William Morro, an accomplice in the OneCoin who pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with the infamous case.

BBC World Service’s Eye Investigations and Panorama has been investigating on her whereabouts for the past year, the report noted.

Ignatova Hired a ‘Bodyguard’ – A Suspect Murderer


Ignatova hired a Bulgarian drug kingpin – Hristoforos Nikos Amanatidis, commonly known as Taki, to safeguard her during her escape. Moreover, Taki, also a mafioso connected to armed robberies and murder, received €100,000 a month compensation for Ignatova’s protection.

Taki was one on Interpol’s “Red Notice” Source: BBC

“When we talk about Taki, he’s the head of the mafia in Bulgaria. He’s extremely powerful,” a former Bulgarian deputy minister, Ivan Hristanov told BBC.

“Taki is the ghost. You’ll never see him. You only hear about him. He’s talking to you through other people. If you don’t listen, you just disappear from earth. The only person who can protect her [Ignatova] from all those investigations, including from foreign agencies – it was Taki.”

Taki is reportedly living in Dubai in one of Ignatova’s luxury penthouses, where her bank account received millions of dollars from the committed fraud.

Is ‘Missing Crypto Queen’ Dead or Alive?


Dimitar Stoyanov, a Bulgarian investigative journalist first broke Ignatova’s murder story in 2022 at bird.bg news outlet.

Stoyanov and his colleagues received a police document at the time, found lying at a home of a murdered Bulgarian cop.

Per repots, the police document read overhearing Taki’s brother-in-law talking drunkenly, revealing that Ignatova’s murder was carried out in 2018 upon Taki’s orders. Her body was later dismembered and dumped off a yacht in the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of Greece.

Later, Bulgarian officials confirmed the authenticity of the document and believe the theory to be true, Stoyanov told BBC.

However, per previous reports, the man who committed the murder was identified to be Hristo Hristov. He was later detained on unrelated drug smuggling charges in the Netherlands.