On 21 December 2021, following an FCA application, a UK Court made a special administration order to the FCA-regulated e-Money Institution (EMI) Viola Money (Europe) Limited, established by Christopher Hamilton via the Maltese Viola Group Holdings Limited. Law enforcement investigators see Hamilton as one of the key people in the OneCoin crypto fraud scheme, who allegedly laundered more than $100 million for crypto queen Ruja Ignatova. The U.S. has requested his extradition.
Disputed FCA Approval
While the FCA finally shut down the e-Money Institution in Dec 2021, it came under fire for authorizing the company in the first place. In Nov 2018, FCA authorized Viola as e-Money Institution when its founder Christopher Hamilton was investigated for alleged money laundering linked to the OneCoin crypto scheme. Moreover, the regulator allowed a change of control to a tyre fitter with no financial services experience and received a series of warnings about dodgy transactions before it finally shut the company down.
James Hurley of The Times reported Sunday on the arrest of 19 people in connection with Viola and the OneCoin and heavy criticism of the FCA:
In September 2016, the UK FCA announced that OneCoin was under investigation headed up by the City of London police. Ten months after the FCA’s OneCoin warning was published, it disappeared from the regulator’s website. According to behindMLM, the UK regulator has caved in to pressure from OneCoin lawyers and PR people and taken the warning offline.
The U.S. OneCoin Prosecution
While OneCoin founder, the crypto queen Ruja Ignatova, is on the run, her brother Konstantin Ignatov has been sentenced to 90 years in prison in the U.S. He had previously pleaded guilty. Other U.S. citizens, such as attorney Mark S. Scott, have also already been convicted of money laundering around OneCoin.
U.S. prosecutors want to give Christopher Hamilton a trial in the OneCoin case and have requested his extradition. The Viola founder and his British partner Robert McDonalds fight against their extradition to the U.S. and argue that their US extradition orders are invalid due to ongoing UK litigation.
If you have any information about OneCoin, Viola, or the people involved, please let us know through our whistleblower system, Whistle42.