OneCoin co-conspirator pushes for acquittal

Maria Nikolova

Mark Scott argues there was no testimony by any witness that he had anything to do with OneCoin sales, much less in the United States.

Mark Scott, a defendant in a lawsuit targeting individuals involved in fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin, is seeking acquittal. This becomes clear from documents filed with the New York Southern District Court on February 4, 2020.

As FinanceFeeds reported back in November, Mark Scott was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Scott, a former equity partner at the law firm Locke Lord LLP, laundered approximately $400 million in proceeds of OneCoin through fraudulent investment funds that he set up and operated for that purpose. Scott was paid more than $50 million for his money laundering services, which he used to buy luxury cars, a yacht, and several seaside homes.

In his motion for acquittal and the accompanying memorandum, Scott stresses that only two of the 17 Government witnesses had met him before his arrest, and each of them only once. According to Scott, the evidence adduced through these witnesses and others was insufficient to support a conviction of on either count.

Scott notes the Government’s evidence that OneCoin was engaged in any sort of illegal activity rested almost entirely on the testimony of cooperating witness Konstantin Ignatov, the brother of OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova. Ignatov testified that at the time of his sister’s disappearance in October 2017 he believed that both the OneCoin blockchain, a hallmark feature of a genuine cryptocurrency, and an audit of the OneCoin blockchain, were real. He also testified that despite working at the OneCoin headquarters for years, he only learned definitively that OneCoin was not a genuine cryptocurrency when he heard Irina Dilkinska speak to that effect in May 2018. He further testified that OneCoin’s lack of a functioning blockchain was a closely guarded secret – only Ruja Ignatova, and OneCoin’s two IT employees were aware that the supposed “blockchain” was an elaborate fraud.

The Government’s evidence that OneCoin activities extended into the United States was extremely limited, Scott argues. He adds that Ignatov, the Government’s only cooperating witness, said nothing of any OneCoin activities in the United States. To show any contact with the U.S. whatsoever, the Government relied almost entirely on the testimony of two individuals who purchased OneCoin, William Horn and Linda Cohen, Scott says. Neither Horn nor Cohen ever met Scott or had any knowledge of him whatsoever.

According to Scott, the Government provided no evidence that funds that Cohen and Horn invested in OneCoin were transferred to the Fenero Funds.. Likewise, according to Scott, the Government failed to show that funds from any United States residents, were transferred into any accounts Scott maintained or to which he had access.

Scott argues that there was no testimony by any witness that (1) Scott had anything to do with OneCoin sales, much less sales in the United States or (2) that Scott had any belief that OneCoin was violating any criminal laws.

According to Scott, the Government’s own evidence establishes that OneCoin was an operation run by people outside the United States and that its product was sold almost entirely to individuals outside the United States. Such incidental ties to the United States are insufficient under the wire fraud statute, and without a U.S. wire fraud, the funds at issue are not subject to the money laundering statute at all, Scott insists.

Moreover, according to Scott, the jury instructions on both the bank fraud and money laundering counts were wrong on key points, permitting the jury to convict him based on conduct that would not violate the statutes in question. Even if the Government had provided sufficient proof of the charged offenses a new trial would be required to cure these instructional errors, the defendant says.

The lawsuit continues at the New York Southern District Court.

Read this next

Institutional FX, Interviews

ION Markets for execution and clearing: Francesco Margini at FIA EXPO 2022

The CPO of Cleared Derivatives at ION Markets spoke about the need for automated execution and clearing in times of surging volumes and increased volatility.

Institutional FX

FIA EXPO 2022: Baton Systems President on building post trade rails for capital markets

As the world’s largest trade show for the listed derivatives dealers, the FIA Futures and Options Expo is a high point for the global cleared swaps community, with dozens of panels, educational sessions, networking opportunities and more.

Industry News

Brokeree Solutions Wins the “Best Emerging Fintech” Award

2022 has become, for Brokeree Solutions, a time of new inventions and developments. We are pleased that the industry has appreciated this emergence of new technologies

Metaverse Gaming NFT

Glip raises $2.5 million to develop class-A Web3 games ecosystem

Web3 game discovery & wallet app, Glip has raised an additional $2.5 million in new funding from a range of investors, bringing the total investments it received to $6 million thus far. 

Inside View

Black Friday and trading: OctaFX presents the results of its client survey

What are the attitudes of traders toward the Black Friday period? What are their trading patterns during the shopping season? OctaFX asked its clients all the most important questions.

Retail FX

Dukascopy warns of clone website dukascopyd.swisbank

Switzerland’s forex bank and broker, Dukascopy has alerted the market and consumers to a clone of its authorised brand. The website, which remains active, is impersonating the genuine investment firm in an attempt to deceive people into handing over their hard-earned money.

Crypto Insider

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get a Crypto Wallet

The crypto ecosystem is very much based on the existence of a crypto wallet, as it is the gateway that allows users to securely store their assets with full transparency and protection.

Digital Assets

Finery Markets raises $5.5m to expand multilateral institutional marketplace for OTC crypto

“Running the first multilateral institutional marketplace in the crypto space, we aim to establish best practices across trading, risk management and operational standards for crypto.”

Institutional FX

TT adds products listed on SGX, ASX, HKEX, JPX to algo execution suite

Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT) has added four major Asia-Pacific (APAC) exchanges to marketplaces supported by TT Premium Order Types.