In September 2016 the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority revealed OneCoin was under investigation.
The investigation was headed up by City of London police.
Ten months after the FCA’s OneCoin warning was published, it disappeared from the regulator’s website.
To date there has never been an explanation as to why.
In episode 9 of the BBC’s The Missing Cryptoqueen podcast, Jamie Bartlett reveals OneCoin had the warning removed by threatening the FCA with legal action.
As revealed in The Missing Cryptoqueen by Gary Gilford, a lawyer who worked for Ignatova,
[22:28] At the time, when I think Carter-Ruck and Chelgate were involved, the Financial Conduct Authority put out a warning on their website, about anyone doing business with OneCoin and OneLife.
So Carter-Ruck and Chelgate were writing to the Financial Conduct Authority.
Whatever they did, was convincing enough for the FCA to take the (OneCoin) notice down.
Carter-Ruck are a well-known London based law firm. Chelgate are a PR and crisis management firm, also based in London.
In an effort to get to the bottom of communication between between Carter-Ruck, Chelgate and the FCA, The Missing Cryptoqueen interviews Simon Harris, a former Chelgate employee.
Harris claims Chelgate maintained a degree of separation from OneCoin, by dealing on with Frank Schneider.
Schneider, a former Luxembourg spy, worked closely with Ignatova on the more secretive aspects of OneCoin’s day to day operations.
OneCoin was purportedly paying Chelgate over £40,000 GBP a month as a retainer.
As recounted by Harris;
[24:42] In the weeks prior to my arrival (at Chelgate) on August 2017, there was a warning on the … FCA’s website.
And Chelgate worked with Carter-Ruck to pressurize (the FCA), to weaken their public stance on OneCoin.
Harris claims Ignatova and Schneider were “absolutely delighted” at the FCA backing down.
OneCoin went on to use the FCA’s impotence as a marketing point, to further the fictional narrative that OneCoin was legitimate.
The Missing Cryptoqueen quotes Ken Labine, a Canadian based OneCoin promoter, boasting about the FCA’s decision to back down.
[26:34] If they (the FCA) still thought we were a fraudulent company, OneCoin, then guess what; that warning’s not removed. Game over.
In response to OneCoin and its promoters pushing the narrative that they had received regulatory approval in the UK, the FCA and City of London police did nothing.
To date the FCA has failed to explain how pressure from a law firm and PR agency was enough to get it to remove a warning, pertaining to quite possibly one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history.
In a recent pre-trial conference for Sebastian Greenwood, OneCoin’s indicted second in command, a defense attorney claimed OneCoin was a fifteen billion dollar Ponzi scheme.
The City of London police investigation into OneCoin was officially dropped in September 2019.
A letter from Keiron Vaughan, of the Economic Crime Director, informed the OneCoin “investigation will be closed and no further action will be taken”.
Three years of investigating a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme had led nowhere.
Owing to the failure of UK authorities, OneCoin subsequently flourished.
In the wake of the company’s collapse, UK investor losses are believed to run into the millions.
The BBC attempted to gain access to correspondence between the FCA, Carter-Ruck and Chelgate through a Freedom of Information request.
The FCA refused to provide anything. In response to the BBC’s enquiries, the regulator stated;
We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of these documents.
We published the consumer notice in 2016 at the request of the City of London police.
The decision to take our alert down was made in conjunction with the City of London police, who were investigating the matter.
Our alerts are primarily intended to warn consumers about firms carrying on regulated activities without the required FCA authorization.
It did not appear that OneCoin was carrying on any activities that required FCA authorization.
The FCA does not regulate cryptocurrency assets, and therefore it could not take this matter further.
Something the FCA very much does regulate is securities fraud, which OneCoin committed in the UK since its inception in 2014.
At no time during its operation was OneCoin registered with the FCA.
The BBC has filed an appeal over their denied Freedom of Information request.
Here at BehindMLM we are no stranger to the incompetence of UK authorities.
We’ll be sure to bring up the FCA’s OneCoin debacle any time someone asserts the UK is a strongly regulated market.