What does a OneLife-produced event look like? Is the organization that supports the OneCoin community competent enough to produce a beauty pageant? The answer to those questions might surprise you. For this fourth episode, Jamie Bartlett and Georgia Catt go into the lion’s den. They travel to Bucharest, Romania, and witness the Miss OneLife coronation. Apparently, the event had some of “the world’s most famous brands as sponsors.” However, as it happens with everything Dr. Ruja related, things are not what they seem.
This episode’s guest star is Christi Calina, who’s a OneLife “independent marketing associate” and one of the event’s producers. Since the man’s ghosting them, Jamie and Georgia ambush him at a OneLife event in the same city. The conference “looks like the real deal, just like OneCoin,” Jamie evaluates. There, they get access to the Miss OneLife event and things take a turn for the mysterious.
About “The Missing Cryptoqueen’s” Episode Four – “Miss OneLife”
In this episode, Jamie and Georgia go through the charges against Konstantin Ignatov, Dr. Ruja’s brother. They contain some of the FBI documents about the case and include emails between Dr. Ruja and “other top leaders” of the OneLife organization. In those, the people allegedly discuss how the scam works in detail. If those are real, there’s no doubt that OneCoin was a very deliberate scam from the very beginning. They even discuss how to fake the mining of the supposed cryptocurrency.
In those emails, Dr. Ruja discusses a possible exit strategy and proposes they could “take the money and run and blame someone else for this.”
Later on, the FBI claims Dr. Ruja is “directly associated with significant players in the Easter European organized crime.”
It’s important to know that OneCoin disputes all of these allegations. We included part of their denial in the quotes section. We also included concrete information about Dr. Ruja’s disappearance and a new factor that might explain why she fled at the time she did.
BTC price chart for 10/25/2022 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
The Miss OneLife Beauty Pageant
Our heroes go into the eye of the storm. They can barely enter the premises because everyone in the OneLife organization knows exactly who they are. They don’t blend in. Everyone is “smartly dressed.” Bottles of Moet and cigars abound. The production is slick. A stage comes down from the ceiling and Jamie loses his mind. In the end, they both admit that the OneLife organization can throw a hell of an event. It was boring, though. And it doesn’t look like any cryptocurrency-related function that the podcast host has ever attended.
“OneCoin is still going and there’s a lot of money here,” Jamie says before fleeing the event.
Back in London, the producers fact-check everything that happened. The famous brands that were supposedly attached to the Miss OneLife pageant deny sponsorship. They’ve never heard of the event. Then, they contact Forbes and the magazine denies that Dr. Ruja was ever on the cover like the organization made seem in their promotional material. Then, they check on her education claims. As it turns out, Dr. Ruja did go to Oxford and got the degree she claims to have.
To finish the episode off, Jamie interviews Miss OneLife UK. She gives them peripheral information, like the event’s ticketing wasn’t open to the public and one of the prizes was a gift card for cosmetic surgery. Then, Jamie mentions Dr. Ruja. She says that she heard someone important was at the event, but couldn’t remember if it was her.
Is it possible that Dr. Ruja was in attendance at the Miss OneLife event? Apparently, “she’s unrecognizable now.”
This story gets more fascinating by the minute.
Quotes From “The Missing Cryptoqueen’s” Episode Four – “Miss OneLife”
“OneCoin disputes all allegations. To our claim that OneCoin is not a cryptocurrency and that its nominal price is not determined by demand and supply, but is manipulated and set internally, they said: “OneCoin verifiably fulfills all criteria of the definition of cryptocurrency, and also those of a transparent pricing that is in line with the common market”. The BBC podcast series, they say, “is based on testimonials of haters, former employees who were either fired or disgracefully dismissed for internal company violations, intellectual property theft, and other violations. Thus, the series will not present any truthful information and cannot be considered objective, nor unbiased.”
Concrete information about Dr. Ruja’s disappearance, and a new factor that might explain why she fled:
“The FBI files also contained valuable new information about Dr. Ruja’s disappearance. “Bulgarian travel records show that on or about October 25th, 2017, Ruja flew on Ryanair from Sofia, Bulgaria to Athens, Greece.” Dr. Ruja was last seen in Sozopol, in around July 2017. That was on her private yacht, the Davina, the one we saw. On October 7th, she then failed to turn up at a OneCoin event in Lisbon. But now we know that her last known whereabouts was in fact Athens on 25th October 2017. And there’s some more clues here.
Last week, I said that the US authorities charged Dr. Ruja in absentia in March 2019. That’s not the whole story. We’ve learned that Dr. Ruja was actually indicted on 12th October 2017, but this indictment was sealed until March 2019. It was just two weeks after that first indictment that Dr. Ruja vanished. Is it possible she could have been tipped off?”
Extra Material And Episode Credits
As you probably know if you’ve gotten this far in the series, Dr. Ruja is on the FBI’s most-wanted list. The text under her name says:
“Ruja Ignatova is wanted for her alleged participation in a large-scale fraud scheme. Beginning in approximately 2014, Ignatova and others are alleged to have defrauded billions of dollars from investors all over the world. Ignatova was the founder of OneCoin Ltd., a Bulgaria-based company that marketed a purported cryptocurrency. In order to execute the scheme, Ignatova allegedly made false statements and representations to individuals in order to solicit investments in OneCoin. She allegedly instructed victims to transmit investment funds to OneCoin accounts in order to purchase OneCoin packages, causing victims to send wire transfers representing these investments. Throughout the scheme, OneCoin is believed to have defrauded victims out of more than $4 billion.”
And finally, the episode’s credits:
Presenter: Jamie Bartlett
Producer: Georgia Catt
Story consultant: Chris Berube
Editor: Philip Sellars
Original music and sound design: Phil Channell
Original music and vocals: Dessislava Stefanova and the London Bulgarian Choir
Previous Companion Guides For BBC’s “The Missing Cryptoqueen” Podcast:
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