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 p[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 email that the plaintiffs propose to use for service are in fact functional and currently in use. OneCoin’s website, which matches the 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

Valkyrie pulls back on Ether futures merge with Bitcoin ETF

Valkyrie Funds LLC will suspend the purchase of Ether (ETH) futures contracts for its Valkyrie Bitcoin and Ether Strategy ETF (BTF.O). Additionally, the firm will unwind any positions in Ethereum that it has already acquired.  

Digital Assets

Hong Kong police arrest 18 in $1.5B billion JPEX fraud

The investigation into the JPEX crypto exchange scandal continues to unfold as Hong Kong and Macau police arrest four more individuals. These arrests, which include individuals considered “relatively close to the core” of the scandal, bring the total number of detentions to 18.

Digital Assets

Gemini tells Dutch users to withdraw assets by November 17

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, announced that it will cease providing services to customers in the Netherlands, citing regulatory requirements imposed by the country’s central bank.

Digital Assets

SEC puts BlackRock, Valkyrie, and Bitwise Bitcoin ETFs on hold

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed its decisions on several bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposals, leaving many in the crypto industry feeling pessimistic for any future blessing from the agency.

Digital Assets

Ripple backs out of Fortress Trust acquisition

Ripple has decided to cancel its planned acquisition of Fortress Trust, a custodian company, less than a month after initially announcing the agreement.


France regulators blacklists 21 FX brokers, FuturBTC

France’s financial markets regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), today shed light on several unregulated forex brokers representing their offering under several brands. Notably, the AMF has identified only one crypto-assets provider in its latest warning.  

Digital Assets

Flare and Arkham Collaborate for Enhanced Decentralized Data Access

Flare’s blockchain for decentralized data acquisition integrates with Arkham’s Intelligence Platform, offering users advanced analytics and actionable on-chain insights.

Industry News

iFX EXPO International 2023 Successfully Concludes

The most talked about financial event of the year took place in Limassol, Cyprus.

Retail FX

Plus500 Forex Garners Market Attention In The Latest Expert Ranking

Securing the 58th spot in Traders Union’s Best Forex Brokers of 2023 ranking, Plus500, despite its cautionary overall score of 6.3 out of 10, stands out for its stringent regulatory compliance, user-centric WebTrader platform, and a commendable focus on account security, though it lags in providing advanced trading tools and trust management features.