The Oxford graduate that ‘pulled off the scam of the century’ | #socialmedia


According to the BBC, when the lease to her London penthouse was signed in August 2016, financial regulators in at least one European country had already issued a warning to police about OneCoin. A few months earlier, Dr Ruja had pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges in a German court, after bankrupting a metal factory she’d bought and leaving 150 people jobless in 2011.

In 2017, just as law enforcement were starting to get wind of the company’s technological flaws, Ignatova was due to attend an event in Lisbon, but boarded a plane to Athens and vanished. In 2019, her brother pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering in connection with the scheme.

Former Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Here is when the story turns to the writer Barlett, a technology journalist, who trailed through the dark vestiges of social media, attempting to track the infamous grifter for months, with no avail. In 2019, a promising anonymous source led Barlett ‘very close’ to the Ignatova in Frankfurt, where the trail once again grew cold.

Despite her obvious flaws, Barlett has admiration for Ignatova. ‘She is an unbelievably fascinating person’, he says. ‘She is incredibly brave in a strange sort of way, and a weird figure of obsession to the people that follow her. Our view of her went from “paper thin front person” to “incredibly intelligent and highly skilled” to where I am now, which is – as Ruja says herself in one of the FBI documents – “an expert in dealing in the grey area of life”, and finding gaps in rules and laws’. 



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