OneCoin Leaks: Ruja Ignatova’s passport + Arens’ contract
Last November a Russian van rolled up to OneCoin’s Bulgarian headquarters.
Shortly afterwards, this happened:
Now OneCoin corporate documents are finding their way into the wild.
The year was 2016. Banks were closing OneCoin accounts all over the world and regulatory warnings were coming in thick and fast.
None of that however was enough to dissuade Pierre Arens,
Arens, supposedly an educated professional with a background in banking, international and capital markets, was negotiating the position of OneCoin CEO.
As per the “Cooperation Agreement” fleshed out between Arens and Ruja Ignatova, here are the stated “purpose(s) of agreement”:
1.1 OC is looking to implement as a priority a merchant strategy around the OneCoin virtual payment currency.
1.2 OC want sto roll out remittance services via smartphones and has initiated talks with one or several operators in this field.
1.3 OC has the intent to foster its corporate governany charter and terms of business with a view to make the company fit and proper to a partial Trade Sale or Initial Public Offering.
1.4 The Shareholder(s) of OC intend to realize the IPO or Trade Sale within a timeframe of 18-24 months.
1.5 The parties are actively working on improving reputational and marketing issues to which OC is systematically exposed, so as to willingly diminish the future value for an IPO.
Given OneCoin was a Ponzi scheme, the stated purposes are of course irrelevant from a functional perspective. Still, it’s interesting to see what Pierre Arens was willing to buy into for a pay check.
Speaking of which, the agreement pegs Arens annual salary at €750,000 EUR, paid €62,500 EUR monthly.
Arens would also receive
- 1% of net proceeds from an IPO or sale of OneCoin and
- a guaranteed €5 million EUR payment at the end of his contract (October 2018).
Arens first paycheck was December 2016.
From December 2016 to March 2017, Arens worked through and was paid by Sandstone SA. A Luxembourg company run by CEO Frank Schneider.
Schneider would later be outed by Konstantin Ignatov as a key figure in OneCoin’s money laundering operations.
As per the contract Arens was to be appointed CEO of OneCoin after March 14th, 2017. OneCoin however didn’t announce Arens appointment until May 2017.
In exchange for turning a blind eye to OneCoin’s $4 billion+ in financial fraud, Arens was tasked with
- coming up with a merchant strategy;
- coming up with a remittance services strategy and ideas for partnerships (Afrocom is cited as being in negotiations with OneCoin at the time);
- developing operation improvement where needed … to enhance acceptance of OneCoin in the crypto and banking world, mainly in Europe;
- defining the scope and tasks for the compliance department
- identifying and filling gaps in (the) existing team with external resources and new hires;
- participating actively in meeting on reputation improvement etc.;
- developing the strategy/story on the OneCoin IPO;
- defining a fill/kill action-list with a view of future IPO;
- drafting a white paper (or Masterplan) for optimal timing and way to address financial markets, detailing intermediate steps and time frame;
- discussing new products except remittances and merchant programs;
- identifying and approaching potential take-over targets to reduce competition world and strengthen OneCoin’s positiion ahead of IPO; and
- joining OC in the search for an external investor to take over controlling stake in OneCoin.
Interestingly enough, as per their website Afrocom
was created in 2009 to assist in promoting Russian business interests in the African continent.
OneCoin and Ruja Ignatova have always maintained they are of Bulgarian origin, albeit operating through shell companies all over the place.
Ruja Ignatova’s hope of selling off OneCoin also never materialized. As authorities closed in, Ignatova abandoned OneCoin and fled in October 2017.
That same month Pierre Arens quit his position as OneCoin CEO. This happened purportedly amidst Arens being on the verge of a mental breakdown.
To this day Arens has not publicly disclosed why he left OneCoin. Nor has he shown any remorse to the scam’s thousand of victims.
Aren’s employment contract was was signed and executed by both Arens and Ruja Igntova (on behalf of OneCoin) on December 9th, 2016.
The second leak out of OneCoin is Ruja Ignatova’s German passport.
Issued in November 2015, Ignatova’s passport is valid till 2025.
From the passport we can see Ruja Ignatova is of German nationality, was born in Russe, Bulgaria and turns forty in May.
Note that this is unlikely to be the passport Ignatova is currently using. Through her underground contacts, Ignatova is believed to have obtained multiple passports.
Not sure if there’s any more OneCoin document leaks to come. If so we’ll keep you updated.
Nice initial score!
This is very interesting info. Not only because Pitt Arens had dealings with OneCoin during “Pablo Munoz era”, and that there was indeed a connection between Frank Schneider and Arens.
But the Afrocom connection is the most interesting. AfroCom(afrocom.ru/en), or The Coordinating Committee for Economic Cooperation with Sub-Saharan Africa, is not just another Russian company, but one directly linked to Russian state interests.
It even popped up in a Vladimir Putin’s speech, and this is how he described it:
On its website, AfroCom declares VEB/Vneshekonombank, the Russian state development corporation, as its main parter.
VEB has been on US sanctions list (treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20140716.aspx) since 2014, so probably not a good idea to partner with an organization which has close ties to VEB.
Moreover, VEB has been described as Putin’s bank:
It probably didn’t amount to anything (they are not as stupid crooks as Frank Schneider), but looks like Putin’s cronies were at least in process of getting involved in OneCoin.
Some other OneCoin news.
In the class-action case against OneCoin, Judge Caproni has granted Plaintiffs’ motion for alternative means of service in part — only with regards to “OneCoin Ltd”:
As evidenced by the document, the class-action case is poorly managed, but the order at least contains interesting remarks by Judge Caproni which may shed light on what’s going on with Sebastian Greenwood:
If Sebastian is in US custody, the Plaintiffs need to coax DOJ to co-operate with them:
I don’t think it’s happening…
Sure makes you wonder how deep OneCoin’s Russian links go.
Also I can’t see the DOJ confirming they have Greenwood yet.
They’ve been diligent in keeping his status quiet, why give that up for a lawsuit that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
In memory of. 😀
Pierre Arens is indeed something to remember. As his salary suggests, you can’t blame him for modesty. In 2017, he wanted to achieve 500k DealShaker merchants by the end of that year, and he also wanted OneCoin to be number one crytpocurrency to be used for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
See the latter half of his Japan event speech: youtu.be/qa-t1azwCM0?t=329
PS. Tim, does this meme contain the picture of the alleged blonde-plastic-surgeried-Ruja that was referenced in one of the BBC podcast episodes (or is it just some random drag queen)?
@Semjon – RE: meme – I assume the photo of that person is the one referenced 😉
I wouldn’t necessary call Sandstone SA a “shell company”?
This website is still online! 😛
If this is true (the whole OC thing is so murky, we cannot rule out that someone is deliberately leaking manipulated information), it’s very interesting.
Frank Schneider was not just hired help, since he was paying the future CEO his company must have been considered to be an integral part of “the OneCoin Group of companies or any company controlled or designated by Dr Ruja Ignatova”.
No wonder the last time we heard from him in the Luxembourg press, he was so adamant that OC isn’t a criminal enterprise, that Mark Scott is innocent, and Konstantin’s confession is fake and forced out of him.
It’s not correct so say Sandstone is a shell company, though. It has real, documented activities which have got nothing to do with OC, and has been in business since 2008.
In this case it clearly functioned as a front company for OC, but that isn’t the same thing.
As for Arens, it’s completely unbelievable that an experienced banker came aboard believing OC was a legitimate enterprise but with an unjustified bad reputation, which he could help fix.
He signed that contract at the time OC was losing its last known bank accounts (the last ones were closed in January 2017).
When he formally became CEO, the company he headed had been unable to get any bank, anywhere in the world, to provide it with an account for months.
Even his own salary could not be paid out of a company account, but had to go through a front company. Nobody, let alone a banker, could believe that was the case only because of an unjustified reputational problem.
And oh yes, it’s somewhat misleading to refer to that vehicle now famous among OC watchers as a “Russian van”. It’s a van built in Russia in Soviet days, but it has Bulgarian license plates.
These things are still ubiquitous in poorer parts of the former Eastern Bloc, there’s no particular Russian connection to them.
If they’d turned up in a rusty old Volkswagen van, you wouldn’t have called that “a German van”, would you?
Arens’s LinkedIn profile still lists his last employment as “Managing Director Credit Structuring Treasury and Financial Markets” at Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, from July 2016 to March 2017.
That he wants to erase his subsequent stint as OneCoin CEO from his CV is understandable, but it’s interesting that for the last four months of that employment he was already being paid by OC as well.
(I now notice there’s another gap in that CV. I wonder what he was doing between June 2000 and April 2004, which he doesn’t consider worth putting on LinkedIn. That’s a long time to be between jobs in that sector.)
Oz, I know it is not so important I guess, but wanted to correct a piece of the information in the article – you wrote that she was born in Russia, which is not true.
She was born in Russe, which is a town in Bulgaria.
The story you are writing about is now available online:
Frank Schneider’s Sandstone — along with British PR firm Chelgate, to whom Frank reportedly worked for to do PR work for OneCoin — was recently accused(euobserver.com/justice/146821) of being part in a scheme to muddy the waters in Daphne Caruana Galizia murder scandal.
Some kind of propaganda/lobbying operation was supposedly done in order to benefit Joseph Muscat — 2019 Person of the Year in Organized Crime and Corruption(occrp.org/en/poy/2019/) and the prime suspect in arranging the journalist’s murder. Frank strongly denied the allegations and threatened to sue EUObserver for implicating Sandstone
Given what is claimed about his role in OneCoin and the absurd denials you referred to, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he worked for other corrupt figures as well. The dirty work he did for OneCoin, he probably did for other criminals as well.
This is not correct.
It says “Geburtsort/Place of birth/Lieu de naissance RUSSE”
Ruse (also transliterated as Rousse, Russe; Bulgarian: Русе) is a city in Bulgaria.
Thanks for the corrections guys (Russe/Sandstone). Leaving in Russian van because of OneCoin’s ubiquitous ties to Russia.
If those ties were to Germany (beyond Ruja’s passport) and an old German van full of goons rocked up, I’d have described it the same :D.
On the fence whether blonde woman is Ruja. It does look like what I imagine she’d go for if she dropped a few hundo thou on surgeon though.
I was seriously underpaid, when we were paid. That’s a good thing in terms of the giant scheme of things if the money was stolen but it still hurts right now. Whoever leaked the passport, nice!
Russe, as mentioned is a small city in Bulgaria. The locals joke that even flying over it will give you a STD
I would like to remind you that Bulgarian OneCoin fraudster and used car dealer Petar Kralev (Kralev Cars LTD) is also based in Russe. Maybe he attended the same school with Ruja Ignatova?
@ Duncan Arthur
Do you know the names of these two OneCoin scammers you hugged in Dubai?
I sincerely believe that Duncan is honest quy, since he’s not using that stupid finger sign. You can recognise a scam immediately when you see the person promoting it forming some some signs with his/her fingers. Not one normal and respectable company outside MLM does that. I mean not one.
I bet if I start a MLM company with a finger sign of middle fingers pointed at the photographer, there would still be people joining.
Not to go totally off topic, I think Ruja didn’t use her German passport whilst fleeing. Probably changed her appearance and bought new faked passport to match the new appearance.
Can’t wait for some new information to surface from the leaked material. Probably there is quite juicy material about the biggest promoters and workers and that’s why they’re staying quiet.
Duncan as one of the ex puppies of Ruja and ripping off people with his shit project an honest guy?? You must be really joking….
@ Melanie. I do know their names. They’re not scammers. They are devastated now financially and emotionally.
Ruja and Konstantin went to school in Germany. This has been reported.
Petar Kralev also left OneCoin/OneLife and jumped to Invicta.
Complement to comment #18
The following OneCoin fraudsters took part in the event in Dubai:
Konstantin Ignatov – Kristina Gouneva – Cordel KingJayms James – Ioannis Kantartzis – Jose Gordo – Veselina Valkova – Simon Le – Habib Zahid – Marinco Paric – Mihail Petrovic – Mark Nishiyama – Diane Mendivelso Sánchez – Mariana Lopez de Waard
Duncan Arthur introduced new features of the DealShaker as a guest speaker.
Not really any reason to, quite the contrary. She wasn’t yet on any wanted list, and using a forged passport just introduces an unnecessary risk of being caught (with today’s passports, that risk is very high).
Her appearance isn’t known to that many people, she is not and never has been some kind of major celebrity. (This was actually pointed out in the BBC podcast: she’s not famous enough to need to go to great lengths to disguise herself, even when supposedly in hiding she could go out almost anywhere without anyone identifying her.)
The fact that they were able to follow her track to Athens strongly suggests she was still travelling under her own name. There, the trail goes cold, but she could have easily gotten out of Greece without needing a passport.
First, if she is indeed being protected by some very wealthy Russian(s), she could easily have had a yacht waiting for her in Athens or any other marina in Greece, and disappeared that way to wherever. It could even have been her own yacht.
Second, since Greece is in the Schengen area, she could also have travelled to almost anywhere else in the EU without needing to show a passport. Germany for instance, since Germany doesn’t extradite its own citizens (except to other EU member states, it’s a membership requirement).
If she’s only worried about extradition to the US, that would therefore be a good place to be. If any EU jurisdiction goes after her, it shouldn’t make any difference where in the EU she is – except perhaps is she’s hiding in Bulgaria, where she has friends in high places. Let’s not forget that it’s not unlikely she has dual citizenship.
The whole escape to Athens scenario, and the suggestions of Russian protection, could have been a deliberate attempt to throw people off the scent.
Quietly slipping back into Bulgaria, and going to live in some remote but luxurious mountain hideaway, might not be such a bad idea, as long as she enjoys protection from the Prime Minister’s circles.
Now that is a classic “would you buy a used car from this man?” picture.
It seems logical that the Bulgarian used car dealer Petar Kralev switched to Invicta. As “Doctor DealShaker Kralev” he came out as a fan of Veselina Valkova:
Call it a hunch, intuition, or gut feeling, but I think there will be more documents released in the coming weeks.
Given that Frank Schneider is accused of giving OneCoin criminals presentations based on insider law-enforcement info (in addition to money laundering), this intresting article from 2013 on how Frank and his spy pals went roque ends in pertinent worry:
(machine translated from: forum.lu/pdf/artikel/7579_327_GoebbelsFranck.pdf)
Let’s see if it’s OneCoin that will finally end impunity for Frank.
Ha, I laughed at Rujas signiture looking completely fake on a couple of recent “OneAcademy” diplomas flaunted by OneCoin scammers but I guess that’s her real signature.
It looks like the signature of a 5 year old, but I guess it’s ok when taking into account that the majority of her ethnic group (gypsy/roma) compatriots in Southern Balkans sign with a cross or an X due to the fact that the vast majority are (unfortunately) illiterate.
I have no idea where your information about what you call the Ignatov’s family “ethnic group” comes from, or why you think it’s relevant to anything, but you’re talking nonsense.
First, Ruja is extremely smart, as shown by genuine academic achievements. She holds a PhD in law.
Her doctoral dissertation, with the catchy title “Art. 5 Nr. 1 EuGVO – Chancen und Perspektiven der Reform des Gerichtsstands am Erfüllungsort” was significant enough to have been picked up by a commercial publisher in a series of monographs on EU law (see: peterlang.com/view/title/47702), and if you look for the title you’ll see that it’s cited in quite a few scholarly publications.
She also wasn’t educated anywhere in the Southern Balkans, her parents moved to Germany when she was 10, and that’s where she went to the Gymnasium and then university (and remember that this move meant mastering not only a new language, but a new alphabet as well – she’d have learnt to read and write in Cyrillic).
According to the unanimous accounts of her classmates and teachers, she was a brilliant student.
Her signature looks like neat, standard German handwriting (they still teach that properly), she clearly never felt the need to design something more fancy.
Second, while the Roma do have a scandalously high illiteracy rate, it is nowhere near a “vast majority”. It is much lower in the former Communist countries than in western ones, because they actually enforced compulsory primary education for everyone there, while in the West for Roma that remained mostly dead letter law.
According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the illiteracy rate for Roma over 16 in Bulgaria is 15%, much lower for the younger generations. (Greece has by far the highest rate, coming close to 50%, and has done the least to improve it.)
It seems like she really is a brilliant woman based on everything I’ve read.
I wonder what she could have done had she put the time and energy into a legitimate business.
She couldn’t have done it without all those gullible people falling for her and co-scammers helping her. They really built a cult around Ruja. All she had to do was to appear on stage 1-2 times per year.
She was well educated yes. But what I have seen her in numerous videos she certainly wasn’t an Einstein. Where the members saw the ”Crypto Queen” I saw a pompous asshole telling obvious lies. And you really don’t have to be an Einstein to see that side of Ruja.
I just noticed that the transcript of Mark Scott October 28th pre-trial conference became available on PACER two days ago.
Dtk. 166. Unfortunately, not available on Courtlistener as I write.
The info about Frank Schneider giving prestantions to OneCoin criminals came from that transcript (See: twitter.com/innercitypress/status/1192591383355375616). I wonder if there any other intresting stuff in it….
She could have never ever made the same amount in the same time, and that’s the whole point.
I don’t think she’s as brilliant, though. PhD, so what. I know several people who aren’t exactly bright and they have PhDs because they were in the right place at the right time.
It’s also possible she hired a ghostwriter.
As for the publisher picking up her dissertation, jura.uni-konstanz.de/stadler/forschung/promotionen/abgeschlossene-promotionen/ tells you that the majority of dissertations at her university were published.
Are all these people “extremely smart”? Probably not.
What fascinated me was for a woman who was so smart she had to plagiarize the educational material of One Academy.
Did she not know what she was talking about, and thus had to use other people’s information as her own, or just pure lazy and the expedient way to try and fool the people?
It didn’t make any sense given her background until you realize that OneCoin was never meant to be a real crypto-currency; but a major Ponzi.
Imma just leave this here: “Guhneesis”
I think Ruja was smart enough not to use more effort to scam people than was necessary.
She obviously knew her target audience and like some of the leaders said openly, education was used just to keep it “legal” and to show it isn’t about investment. Even though everybody knows it’s about the investment, wink wink, nudge nudge;)
If you look at the average onecoiner, you can see that the quality of the educational material is not really essential for running this scam.
Good news from Austria! 😀 The fraud portal giftcodefactory.com by serial fraudster Pascal-Rene André no longer exists! Igor Krnic from Serbia advertised this bad scam from Austria with a banner on his forum onecoin-debate.com!
Also interesting: Pascal-Rene André is no longer mentioned and shown on the website afasm.at! Here is a screenshot from the past:
Looks like the launch of Habib Zahid’s and Veselina Valkova’s new scam project Invicta / Circle of Finance is getting nearer.
The first promo video indicates that it’s not going to be a very high-end scam:
(Had problems opening the video without the embed-trick.)
The BBC podcast mentions an alleged post-surgery picture of Ruja. Anyone care to share the link?
That’s not a real photograph, is it? Looks like something some kid did on their phone with some facemorph app.