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OneCoin Co-founder Greenwood Handed 20-Year Sentence, Ignatova Remains Elusive

Karl Greenwood, OneCoin's co-founder, is sentenced to 20 years and owes $300 million. Partner Ruja Ignatova remains uncaptured.

Fri, 15 Sep 2023, 10:48 am UTC

Karl Greenwood, a key figure behind the cryptocurrency company OneCoin, has received a 20-year jail term in the United States. On September 20, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York also ruled that Greenwood must pay back $300 million. His business partner, Ruja Ignatova, is yet to be captured.

Holding dual citizenship in the United Kingdom and Sweden, Greenwood faced charges in the United States. The Justice Department's U.S. Attorney Damian Williams labeled OneCoin as an unparalleled fraudulent scheme. Evidently, the operation deceived approximately 3.5 million individuals, generating an alarming $4 billion.

The company's controversial operations gave OneCoin a facade of authenticity by drawing comparisons to Bitcoin during sales discussions. However, as pointed out by the Justice Department, OneCoin differed significantly from standard cryptocurrencies. It lacked features such as an authentic blockchain, mining operations, and had inconsistencies between the number of coins on its private blockchain and sales figures.

Greenwood's arrest in 2018 came after his extradition from Thailand. He later admitted to his involvement in fraud and laundering money. The charges brought against him were severe, putting him at risk of a 60-year imprisonment. Greenwood's substantial earnings, an estimated $300 million, were majorly through commissions from OneCoin sales. Reports indicate that Greenwood indulged in extravagant purchases and a life of luxury with these proceeds.

The whereabouts of Ignatova have been unknown since 2017. This has earned her a spot on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s list of top ten fugitives. Meanwhile, other individuals associated with OneCoin are being held accountable. Irina Dilkinska, who was responsible for OneCoin's legal matters and compliance, faced charges in the U.S. earlier this year. Also, last year in August, reports emerged that Christopher Hamilton, an associate of Ignatova, would be extradited to the U.S. on related charges.

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