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Crypto fraudsters were able to sell real estate in Dubai after they were charged

Crypto fraudsters were able to sell real estate in Dubai after they were charged

According to media reports, in April 2017, Dilbar Mirsaitova from Shymkent was placed under house arrest on suspicion of fraud in Kazakhstan.

She was accused of illegally receiving approximately seven million dollars from people who invested in the fictitious cryptocurrency OneCoin.

However, a few days later, Mirsaitova began writing again on her Facebook page, indicating that she had been released from arrest.

Journalists contacted the Department of Economic Investigations, where they were told that the investigation into the OneLife fraud case was closed. OneLife is a Bulgarian company that created OneCoin.

Mirsaitov was allowed to link several videos on YouTube and publications on social networks with the global financial pyramid.

In 2019, fraud victims in Kazakhstan tried to sue Mirsaitova and her alleged accomplices, but to no avail. So far they have not been able to return the money invested.

After the charges against Mirsaitova were dropped, she traveled to Dubai from time to time and wrote about it on social networks.

Real estate in Dubai

According to the data leak that formed the basis of the OCCRP investigative project #DubaiUnlocked, since at least 2020, Mirsaitova has owned an apartment in the four-star Dubai lifestyle hotel Sky Bay.

Mirsaitova is linked to Ruja Ignatova, who allegedly orchestrated the OneCoin scheme. Ignatova also has real estate in Dubai.

Ignatova and Frank Schneider, a former Luxembourg intelligence officer, worked together on OneCoin. In 2019, Schneider was charged in New York with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering for his role in the scheme. But the existence of a case against him became known only in April 2021, when he was detained in France for extradition to the United States.

According to #DubaiUnlocked, Ignatova bought a penthouse in one of the elite areas of Dubai in 2015, and Schneider had an apartment nearby worth two million dollars since 2018.

Since 2019, the UAE has had a law requiring realtors to check the details of buyers and sellers of real estate and report any suspicious transactions to the authorities. But Ignatova and Schneider sold the property without any problems, although at that time they had already been charged in connection with OneCoin, which raises questions about compliance with anti-money laundering rules in Dubai.

UAE officials and Dubai police did not respond to reporters’ questions.

Schneider escaped from house arrest

Schneider was never extradited to the United States. In May 2023, he escaped from house arrest and disappeared.

An FBI spokesman told OCCRP that Schneider is on the run. Journalists found new evidence linking Schneider to Indonesia, which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

A native of Bulgaria, Ignatova also disappeared without a trace. In 2022, the FBI declared her one of the most wanted fugitives.

What is OneCoin

The “virtual currency” OneCoin appeared in 2014. The creators argued that it would be a worthy competitor to Bitcoin, which was gaining popularity.

But unlike legitimate cryptocurrencies, OneCoin had no real value and was intended to be a scam from the very beginning. The deception involved faking transactions using a fake blockchain.

At least 3.5 million people around the world have believed in OneCoin and have yet to get their money back.

One of the creators of OneCoin, Carl Sebastian Greenwood, admitted to fraud and money laundering. In September 2023, he was sentenced to twenty years in prison and fined $300 million.