If found guilty, the 33-year-old could face up to 90 years’ imprisonment for his involvement with the Ponzi scheme. However, in a last-minute twist to his case, it was revealed that Ignatov agreed to a plea bargain that could yet spare him jail. It could, though, also force him into hiding if he submits to revealing the identities and whereabouts of the organisation’s co-conspirators – including his missing 38-year-old sister and members of the Bulgarian Mafia.
Prosecutors in the case against the OneCoin scammers believe more than $5bn was swindled out of unsuspecting investors – with 70,000 people duped in the UK alone.
It is estimated that OneCoin raised £3.9bn across an astonishing 175 countries, with the UK accounting for some £96m.
Remarkably, OneCoin is still operating, and the company denies any criminal activity.
Dr Ignatova’s younger brother was arrested while attempting to board a flight at Los Angeles International Airport in March.
He is understood to have signed a plea bargain last month, providing vital information to detectives attempting to find Dr Ignatova and her mobster friends.
Despite pleading guilty to money laundering, wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud, the deal means he will not face further charges in respect of OneCoin.
He is likely to be granted witness protection and possibly be given a new identity if he avoids a jail term, with the plea document stating his compliance may “reveal activities of individuals who might use violence” against him or his family.
While awaiting sentencing, Ignatov has also been instrumental in another case involving the OneCoin fraud by testifying in the trial of US lawyer Mark Scott.
Scott has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to launder money as well as bank fraud.
He is suspected to have routed $400m out of the US.
Breaking his silence over the disappearance of his sister, Ignatov said the mastermind behind OneCoin had last been seen at her lavish home in Sofia.
He said she told him she suspected someone within their inner circle was about to tip off the FBI about her fraudulent activities.
As well as insisting he had not communicated with his Oxford-educated sister since October 2017, Ignatov also revealed she had asked him to purchase flight tickets to Vienna, Athens and Austria on her behalf.
The trial is expected to conclude next week.
• Coin Rivet is a website bringing news, information, analysis, opinion and insight from the fast-moving blockchain world.