Two suspected UK-based OneCoin money launderers are contesting extradition to the US.
Christopher John Hamilton and Robert McDonald insist that any legal proceedings against them should take place in the United Kingdom.
Last Friday, Hamilton and Roberts’ attorneys claimed that they should not be extradited because the majority of the alleged wrongdoing or injury occurred in Britain. It is extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly where the majority of the damage from the OneCoin scam was incurred.
The only thing we know for sure is that it isn’t in the United States.
This is based on OneCoin not ever really taking off in the US, leading to the majority of investment losses occurring elsewhere. OneCoin investors’ money was laundered, and Hamilton and Roberts are accused of stealing $32 million from Gilbert Armenta, according to Law360 (paywall).
When asked about Armenta’s status as a US citizen and resident, defense attorneys said it was irrelevant to the extradition case.
Considering Armenta a victim whose interests matter in deciding where Hamilton and McDonald should face charges would be ludicrous.
Defense attorneys portrayed Armenta as a “middle-man,” claiming the money in question actually belonged to the mysteriously vanished Ruja Ignatova. In the United Kingdom, extradition proceedings concluded on Friday, although I don’t know when the case will be resolved.
If the Westminister Magistrates’ Court rules against extraditing Hamilton and McDonald to the United States, they are likely to be released.
Authorities in the United Kingdom, second only to those in OneCoin’s home country of Bulgaria, worked diligently to do as much harm to customers as possible in connection with the cryptocurrency OneCoin. Too difficult to ignore, the City of London Police decided to look into OneCoin in 2019.
Remember when OneCoin’s public relations team threatened the Financial Conduct Authority over a consumer fraud warning?
The FCA relented and reversed the warning, paving the way for OneCoin to openly represent legitimacy in the UK.
Later that same year, OneCoin went on to stage a marketing event, possibly its biggest ever, at Wembley Arena.
In 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will allow a senior figure in OneCoin’s money laundering operations to take the job of “Money Laundering Compliance Officer” at a separate company.
Two of the men arrested in 2019 for their alleged involvement with OneCoin are names I recognize: Hamilton and McDonald.
Given that the United States and Germany are the only two countries showing any interest in bringing the inner circle of OneCoin to justice, it’s likely that the arrests were made only unwillingly at their request.
It remains to be seen if the courts in the United Kingdom will add themselves to the OneCoin financial fraud enforcement list for the country.