Nov 9, 2023 - Business

OneCoin MLM scheme exec pleads guilty to fraud

Illustration of a cube wearing a pair of comedy disguise glasses.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Irina Dilkinska, 42, the head of compliance for OneCoin, the multi-billion euro multi-level marketing scheme, pled guilty Thursday to wire fraud and money laundering charges.

Why it matters: OneCoin is one of the most notorious early schemes associated with the cryptocurrency industry, generating €4 billion in revenue between 2014 and 2016, from over three million people.

  • In September, the scheme's co-founder, Karl Greenwood, was sentenced to 20 years.
  • Diklinska pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a max sentence of five years.

Reality check: OneCoin was not a cryptocurrency. It never had a public blockchain, it didn't trade on third-party cryptocurrency exchanges and it couldn't be used as payment.

What they're saying: "As OneCoin's so-called 'Head of Legal and Compliance' Irina Dilkinska accomplished the exact opposite goal of her position," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement announcing the plea.

  • "As she has now admitted, Dilkinska facilitated the laundering of millions of dollars of illicit profits OneCoin accrued through its multi-level-marketing scheme."
  • OneCoin is based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Dilkinska is a Bulgarian citizen.

The intrigue: OneCoin's founder, Ruja Ignatova (sometimes called "the Cryptoqueen") has not been seen publicly since 2017. She remains on the FBI's most wanted list.

Go deeper: "Cryptoqueen" added to FBI's most-wanted list

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