Court nixes OneCoin victims’ request for alternative service on Ruja Ignatova and other defendants

Maria Nikolova

According to the Court, the plaintiffs have not shown that they have taken reasonable steps to attempt to serve several defendants, including “crypto queen” Ruja Ignatova.

A month after the plaintiffs in a lawsuit targeting fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin and a number of individuals associated with this scheme filed a request with the New York Southern District Court for alternative service of their complaint on several defendants, the Court has denied the request.

On November 1, 2019, Judge Valerie E. Caproni signed an order nixing the plaintiffs’ request.

Let’s recall that the plaintiffs in this case represent all individuals and entities who transferred to the OneCoin Defendants, directly or indirectly, any fiat currency or cryptocurrency to invest in OneCoin Trader Packages or OneCoins from April 2014 through to and including March 2018 and who suffered financial injury as a result thereof.

On October 1, 2019, Lead Plaintiff Donald Berdeaux and Plaintiff Christine Grablis filed a Motion for Leave to Effectuate Alternative Electronic Service upon four defendants – (1) OneCoin Ltd; (2) Ruja Ignatova ; (3) Sebastian Greenwood; and (4) Irina Andreeva Dilinska. In particular, the plaintiffs proposed service on defendant OneCoin via both Federal Express to OneCoin’s Dubai office, email to [email protected] and [email protected], and through social media.

The plaintiffs said back they had been unable to locate any addresses where service could ultimately be effectuated on defendants Ignatova, Greenwood, or Dilinska by traditional means under Rule 4(f)(1) and (2).

Each of these individual defendants are, or until recently were, high-level executives employed by defendant OneCoin and are believed to be located in Europe; however, their exact whereabouts remain unknown. Accordingly, so as not to delay the prosecution of the Action, the plaintiffs proposed service on defendants Ignatova, Greenwood and Dilinska via Federal Express to OneCoin’s Dubai office and email to each of their last known email addresses.

In its Order issued on November 1, 2019, the Judge said:

“Because Plaintiffs have not shown that they have taken reasonable steps to attempt to serve these Defendants, the Court denies Plaintiffs’ motion without prejudice”.

The Court is also skeptical that the plaintiffs’ proposed alternative means of service would meet the requirements of due process. In an effort to persuade the Court that their proposal meets that standard, the plaintiffs asserted that the United Arab Emirates address is OneCoin’s registered office, but did not say as of when or offer any sort of proof to support that assertion.

The Judge also noted that the plaintiffs do not show that the onecoin.eu email that the plaintiffs propose to use for service are in fact functional and currently in use. OneCoin’s website, which matches the onecoin.eu email domains, appears to be non-functional. Perhaps OneCoin’s website and email addresses were operational a year ago, but they no longer appear functional and active, the Judge said.

The Court advised the plaintiffs to address these concerns in any renewed application for alternative service.

Photo: Office of OneCoin in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Read this next

Digital Assets

Bitcoin price flash crashed to $8,200 on Binance.US platform

Bitcoin price briefly crashed to $8,200 (not a typo) Wednesday on Binance.US, the American outpost of the world’s biggest crypto exchange.

Digital Assets

FTX Trading lands $25 billion valuation after $450 million investment

FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, said on Thursday its valuation had risen to $25 billion after a $450 million funding round that included a clutch of heavyweights from traditional finance.

Digital Assets

Nukkleus enters booming crypto ETF space with 5% stake in Jacobi

Jacobi is one of the first companies to offer Bitcoin through mutual funds in Europe. Most regulators restrict cryptocurrencies from being directly held in funds. Crypto-linked funds may be a workaround. 

Industry News

FX and Crypto trading fueled by competition among young investors, FCA

The regulator believes higher-risk investments are not compatible with these investors’ risk tolerance or comprehension. 

Digital Assets

FCA wants more power to supervise cryptoasset businesses

The FCA stated its concern that the registration standards it is permitted to apply under the MLRs are far less demanding than those applicable under FSMA.

Industry News, VOD

Interview with Match-Prime & Match-Trade Technologies at the iFX EXPO: The winning combination of liquidity and technology

FinanceFeeds went to Limassol, Cyprus, last week to meet the industry leaders. A key highlight was the interview with the executives of Match-Prime Liquidity and Match-Trade Technologies present at the show; Svetlana Kulikova, the Head of Match-Trade Cyprus, and Andreas Kapsos managing the Liquidity Provider. 

Industry News

Kikit & Mess charged with $3.9m FX and Crypto ponzi scheme

The scammer used the money to pay for travel costs, including chartering a private jet, renting a luxury mansion and cars, leasing a luxury automobile, as well as purchasing real estate, according to the CFTC.

Digital Assets

Ripple extends further in Middle East

Ripple has been quickly expanding its footprint in the Middle East. Earlier this month, it became official that the Qatar National Bank (QNB) plans to launch a remittance platform based on Ripple blockchain technology.

Digital Assets

Lukka acquires Blox Finance to expand data offering on crypto ecosystem

Lukka’s costumers rely on institutional-grade technology infrastructure with a breadth of coverage across blockchains, exchanges, wallets, and other venues and data sources.

<