Four Bank of Ireland employees are set to testify in a OneCoin fraud case where over US$300 million was laundered through the bank.
There have been a number of scams perpetrated in the cryptocurrency ecosystem over the last decade, but few could rival the scale of OneCoin. This Ponzi scheme raised billions of dollars over a non-existent coin from 175 different countries. The repercussions are still being felt as one man, Mark Scott, is accused of laundering over $300 million in OneCoin proceeds through the Bank of Ireland.
Asked to Testify
Mark Scott is officially charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h). His trial in the New York Southern District Court is set to begin on November 4, 2019. At the trial, four former and current employees of the Bank of Ireland are set to testify against him, saying he used the bank to launder money gained from the cryptocurrency scam.
Prosecutors say that Scott, who is a former partner with the Locke Lord law firm, funneled money from offshore accounts into corporate accounts at the Bank of Ireland to launder it. The offshore accounts, dubbed the Fenero Funds, were allegedly created to hide the source of the money. Scott maintains that he did not know that OneCoin was a scam.
The Bank of Ireland employees who will testify via two-way closed-circuit television are Deidre Ceannt, Derek Collins, Diane Sands, and Greg Begley. Deirdre Ceannt worked in the bank’s Foreign Direct Involvement team from 2014 to 2017. Derek Collins was the Executive Vice President and Relationship Director for the bank in 2016. Diane Sands serves as the head of the Bank of Ireland’s Anti-Money Laundering team. Greg Begley will testify that he received and processed paperwork from Mark Scott concerning the Fenero Funds at the Bank of Ireland.
This $300 million fraud case is just the latest chapter in the OneCoin saga. The scale of the scam is breathtaking. The “coin” was created in 2014 in Bulgaria by Ruja Ignatov. She served as the head of the company until she disappeared in October 2017, which then led to her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, taking over in 2018.
From Q4 2014 to Q3 2016, OneCoin raised $3.8 billion in revenue, and the value of the coin shot up from 29 euro cents to a jaw-dropping 29.95 euros. However, the cryptocurrency didn’t exist as the entire operation was a pyramid scheme.
Law enforcement in multiple countries eventually took action. Bulgarian police raided the offices of a commercial agent for OneCoin back in January while China prosecuted 98 people for their involvement in the scheme. China did manage to recover $253 million from the scammers. Authorities in Singapore arrested two men in connection to OneCoin after the crypto was designated as a pyramid scheme.
Police in the United States arrested Konstantin Ignatov in March at the Los Angeles Airport. He is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As for Ruja Ignatov, she has been charged by U.S. authorities with money laundering, securities fraud, and wire fraud. However, she has not been arrested as she has not been seen since she dropped out of the public’s eye back in October 2017.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Ardfern, Bloomberg, and DepositPhotos.