Briton To Be Extradited To the US Over the OneCoin Cryptocurrency Scam
- Robert McDonald, a co-accused in the OneCoin scam, avoided extradition to take care of his ailing wife.
- Hamilton and McDonald are accused of laundering around $105 million of the $4 billion in the OneCoin scam.
- Over 2 million people were defrauded over $4 billion by OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova, who is now on the most wanted list in the United States.
After years of waiting, one of the OneCoin key figures, Christopher Hamilton from British, is set to be extradited to the United States and face criminal charges. Reportedly, U.K. District Judge Nicholas Rimmer rejected Hamilton’s plea to be tried in his native country.
Notably, Robert McDonald, a co-accused in the OneCoin scam, avoided extradition to take care of his ailing wife. Additionally, McDonald has expressed clear intentions of committing suicide should he be extradited to the United States.
“Wherever victims are based, it is in their interests for perpetrators involved to be prosecuted rather than not to be. This factor weighs in favor of extradition,” Judge Rimmer noted.
According to the case report, Hamilton and McDonald are accused of laundering around $105 million of the $4 billion in the OneCoin scam.
OneCoin, Easy Come Easy Go
Founded in Bulgaria back in 2014, OneCoin promised to beat Bitcoin and become the global cryptocurrency ‘reserve’. At one point, Ruja Ignatova fulfilled her dream by outperforming Bitcoin in market cap, thereby becoming the top coin around the world.
Notably, this motivated Ignatova to hold a meeting at the Wembley Stadium in June 2016, which apparently attracted over 90,000 headcounts. Later that year, several central banks around the world issued a warning on trading OneCoin and referred to the token as a major scam.
After a few months in 2017, Ignatova disappeared and has never been seen to date. A major mystery indeed. Following a series of lawsuits against OneCoin, the Bulgarian police eventually raided the company’s headquarters.
Notably, Ms. Ignatova’s co-founder Sebastian Greenwood and her brother Konstantin Ignatov were arrested in 2018 and 2019 respectively. It was until OneCoin ceased to exist in 2019 that most of its users came to terms with the largest scam in the cryptocurrency industry.
The cryptocurrency market has seen major developments in the past decade that attracted global regulations to ensure its success. Over the years, the level of cryptocurrency scams has significantly decreased, thanks to law enforcement efforts.
According to a recent report by Chainalysis, the total cryptocurrency scam revenue for 2022 currently sits at $1.6 billion, 65 percent lower than where it was through the end of July 2021. Although a major contributor is a decline in cryptocurrency prices, global law enforcement in conjunction with exchanges like Binance and Coinbase has made it challenging to launder money via digital assets.
Earlier this year, darknet revenue from cryptocurrency declined after one of the largest dark web marketplaces Hydra was nabbed by LE.
Meanwhile, Binance CEO CZ has emphasized that the cryptocurrency market is heavily regulated, and thus can only be used for the good and not for illicit activities.
Nevertheless, anonymous coins like Monero still enable illicit activities, thereby making it challenging to entirely wipe out crypto scams. Furthermore, Satoshi Nakamoto predicted that some little scams are unavoidable for the greater good of the cryptocurrency industry.