Investors in the OneCoin Ponzi scheme, whose operations harm allegedly exceeds $4 billion, claim that the US-based bank BNY Mellon provided financial services to fraudsters.
After financial documents of the US Treasury (the so-called FinCEN files) leaked into the world media, the duped investors of the OneCoin Ponzi scheme accused the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) of playing a "central role" in the multibillion-dollar fraud. Investors Donald Berdeaux and Christine Grablis, who invested about $1 million in OneCoin, accused the bank of “turning a blind eye” and helping the financial pyramid “launder” about $300 million. The bank is now listed as a defendant in the class-action claim against OneCoin.
According to the plaintiffs, BNY Mellon suspected the fraudulent nature of OneCoin and in its internal documents, following the internal investigation, called the company a possible Ponzi scheme, but the bank sent a report on OneCoin's suspicious activity to the Financial Crime Network (FinCEN) only after February 2017.
“Accordingly, BNY Mellon knowingly participated in, or was complicit in, laundering OneCoin’s criminal proceeds,” the filing reads.
Plaintiffs accuse BNY Mellon of aiding and abetting fraudulent activities and commercial bad faith.
BNY Mellon is one of the oldest US banks. The bank did not substantively respond to the allegations, limiting itself by saying that the company is serious about its role in protecting the integrity of the global financial system.
OneCoin founder Ruja Ignatova was accused in absentia of securities fraud in the United States. Her whereabouts have been unknown since 2017. In 2019, her brother Konstantin Ignatov pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering.