Ignacio Ibarra and Oscar Brito Ibara, two promoters of OneCoin, a cryptocurrency exit scam, were found dead in Mexico. Industry news source, Cointelegraph en Espanol, while reporting their deaths, disclosed that the two men were kidnapped.
Local news source, La Tercera, reported that law enforcement authorities found the bodies inside suitcases abandoned in an empty lot. Preliminary examination of the bodies revealed that both the deaths were due to suffocation.
According to La Tercera, Oscar Brito Ibarra, a Chilean, joined the OneCoin scheme as an affiliate in 2017. At that time, OneCoin, which was founded in 2014, was already labeled as a Ponzi scheme by many global authorities. These men jointly owned a local car company named Latin American Marketing Company. They promoted OneCoin as a means of making payments at their company. Sources reveal that the kidnapping and killing may be a result of the $4 billion OneCoin scam.
It is not yet known whether the kidnappers were aggrieved OneCoin victims or if it was a casual crime. It is a fact that the crime rate in Mexico is the highest in the world. As per Washington Post, around 5,000 people were kidnapped in the year 2019 and none of them have returned to date. But it cannot be ignored that the number of victims of OneCoin scam is quite large.
After the OneCoin scam revealed itself, many of the promoters were brought to justice by the victims. At the beginning of this month, a 52 year old Singaporean, Fok Fook, was found guilty of operating a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) scam with OneCoin. Channel News Asia, a local television channel, reported that Fok Fook used his MLM scheme to promote OneCoin from January 2016 to June 2017. He attracted buyers through several avenues, including online seminars, social media, and many large scale events. Later, he was charged under Singapore’s MLM and Pyramid Selling Prohibition Act. Fok Fook was later acquitted with a financial penalty of a hundred thousand Singaporean dollars (approximately $72,000), but one of his accomplices is still under trial.
The law enforcement agencies have failed to take strict action against OneCoin’s top brass. In April this year, Judge Ramos of the NY Southern District Court rescheduled the hearing in the case of Mark Scott. Mark Scott was charged with money laundering for OneCoin in November. He had laundered $400 million for the company. His rebuttal in the case is on the grounds due to a lack of proper evidence. He is claiming that till 2018 that he was unaware that OneCoin is a scam.
The U. S. government has filed an opposition against Scott’s rebuttal. The government is trying to prove that Scott, a lawyer affiliated with OneCoin, received a kickback of $50 million from the scam. He used this money to buy a yacht, luxury cars, and many waterfront houses. The legal proceedings are still going on, and his sentence is awaited. It is also reported that Ruja Ignatova, OneCoin founder, has fled to Bulgaria. Also, the sentencing of her brother, Konstantin Ignatov, was adjourned by the Court.