Christopher Hamilton, a British national allegedly connected to “Cryptoqueen” Ruja Ignatova’s cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin, reportedly faces extradition to the United States on charges related to a scam going back to 2014.
According to a Tuesday report from legal news outlet Law360, a judge in the United Kingdom will allow the process to move forward for Hamilton to be extradited to the U.S. on charges of wire fraud and money laundering. Hamilton was allegedly involved in laundering $105 million through the crypto Ponzi scheme OneCoin, which defrauded more than 3 million investors of more than $4 billion through the sale of packages starting in 2014.
A judge cleared the way Tuesday for a British man to be extradited to the U.S. to face money laundering and wire fraud charges stemming from the global OneCoin cryptocurrency scam. https://t.co/6nDFizeCt9— Law360 (@Law360) August 30, 2022
Under a bilateral extradition agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom signed in 2003, an executive authority of the U.K. government — in this case, likely Home Secretary Priti Patel — will decide whether to proceed with Hamilton’s transfer to U.S. custody. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the extradition process “can take many months or even years to complete.” Hamilton will also likely be able to appeal the decision.
Ignatova received a place on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list in June for her alleged involvement in the crypto Ponzi scheme. According to the FBI, the Cryptoqueen's last known location was in Athens in 2017. The bureau offered to pay up to $100,000 for information leading to her arrest. Europol is also offering a 5,000-euro reward for “crucial information" related to Ignatova's whereabouts.
“Ignatova allegedly made false statements and representations about OneCoin to draw people to invest in OneCoin packages,” said the FBI in June. “According to investigators, Ignatova and her partner also promoted OneCoin through a multi-level marketing strategy that urged OneCoin investors to sell additional packages to friends and family.”