OneCoin founder Dr Ruja Ignatova has been missing since disappearing in October 2017 after a US warrant was issued for her arrest, and she hasn’t been seen in public since. A hugely successful BBC podcast called The Missing Cryptoqueen has led the search to try and track down the founder of the famous crypto scam, with a variety of locations suggested for her whereabouts during and since.
We discuss the most viable locations for Dr Ignatova and rate their chances of harboring the woman who helped steak $4.4 billion of investors’ money.
Sofia is OneCoin’s base and the location of their global headquarters, having launched in the country to huge fanfare in 2015. Bulgaria is also Dr Ignatova’s birthplace, so it could hold strong emotional ties for her. Should Dr Ignatova want to keep a close eye on the monster she created she couldn’t do any better than here.
If Dr Ignatova is short of sofas to sleep on, he could always bed down at the 5-star Sofia Hotel Balkan. At a $100 per night, she could stay for 44 million nights on the money stolen from investors.
Odds: Very Unlikely
Dr Ruja spent most of her childhood in Germany having emigrated with her family when she was very young. She spent her formative years in Schramberg, a small town near Germany’s borders with France and Switzerland, where she attended school – wearing high heels to stand out.
Schramberg would be the perfect place for Dr Ignatova to live amid the peace and quiet of the picturesque woodlands, but there is a chance that she would be recognized, regardless of whether she has had the plastic surgery that has been suggested. If she wants to chance it however, she could spend 26.6 million nights at the 5-star Waldeslust hotel on the outskirts of the town.
Odds: Very Unlikely
Private Island, Caribbeanisland
Nothing says ‘leave me alone’ like one’s own private island, and a small chunk of land in the middle of the Caribbean might be the kind of place you’d expect to find a billionaire fugitive.
However, international money laundering rules might make it a bit tricky for Dr Ignatova to hand over the cash without any questions being asked, even through an intermediary. Of course, the right amount of money can make those pesky rules simply disappear, but even so, it’s unlikely that she would take the risk.
If Dr Ignatova did fancy her own island home however, she could buy Spectabilis Island (above) in the Bahamas 64 times over and still have money for ice cream.
Despite seeming like a random choice, Frankfurt is in fact one of the more likely options of Dr Ignatova’s present location. Research by the podcast team found the city mentioned by Dr Ignatova herself in forum posts, and it is where her ex-husband currently resides as well as, potentially, her daughter.
A phone call to the podcast team from a trusted source towards the end of the series stated that Frankfurt was indeed a place where Dr Ignatova spends much of her time these days, and that the team should “dig deeper” there. This collection of evidence is the strongest yet that ties Dr Ignatova to a specific city, and is therefore our top choice.
Were Dr Ignatova in Frankfurt, she could well be spending her money (well, other people’s) at the $200 per night Grandhotel Hessischer Hof, which she could afford to do for 20 million nights.
All Signs Point to Frankfurt
So there we are – Frankfurt is, in our opinion, the most likely location of billionaire fugitive Dr Ruja Ignatova. Before you buy a ticket and head over there however, remember that she might look nothing like she does in any photos online, and there isn’t actually a reward, so you’d be hunting her down in service to justice.
But don’t let us stop you.