A New York judge nearly threw out a $4 billion case against notorious crypto scam OneCoin after the plaintiffs failed to file monthly status updates required by the court. US District Judge Valerie E. Caproni issued a stern rebuke to the lead plaintiff after reports on the status of the plaintiffs’ efforts to serve OneCoin and its founder Dr Ruja Ignatova abruptly stopped after February. The reason for the lack of reports was eventually put down to a misunderstanding on behalf of the plaintiffs and their responsibilities, a lapse that almost cost them the entire case.
Monthly Updates Stop
The $4 billion lawsuit was filed in May 2019 in the New York Southern District Court against OneCoin at their offices in Dubai and key personnel, including Dr Ignatova, her brother Konstantin Ignatov, and accountant Mark Scott.
Dr Ignatova famously disappeared in October 2017 after being the public face of OneCoin for over three years, launching a worldwide manhunt, most notably from a BBC podcast team. In January this year Judge Caproni allowed plaintiffs to serve Ignatova at her last known email address.
“Excusable Misunderstanding of Their Obligations”
Judge Caproni received two updates from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in February relating to these efforts, since when two monthly deadlines for March and April have elapsed, resulting in a sharp warning from the judge that “failing to comply with the court’s orders going forward could result in sanctions.”
The investors told the judge last week their failure to file the two monthly status reports was because they believed their reporting obligations ended in February, and that a stay order issued in August by the courts meant that a conference regarding next steps was not issued.
In replying to the judge’s comments, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said that “any failure on plaintiffs’ part was, at worst, the result of an excusable misunderstanding of their obligations” and that “there was a misunderstanding between the Judge and counsel that has been resolved.”
This is not the first time that Judge Caproni has been close to dismissing the case due to missed deadlines by plaintiffs, allowing them to pursue their search for financial recompense, although likely with no input from the still absent Dr Ignatova, wherever she is…