British National Accused in OneCoin Scam Set to Face US Extradition: Report

Co-accused Robert McDonald avoided extradition on human rights grounds.

AccessTimeIconAug 31, 2022 at 10:20 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:18 p.m. UTC

Christopher Hamilton, a British national accused of money laundering and wire fraud related to the $4 billion OneCoin scam, lost his bid to avoid extradition to the U.S. on Tuesday, according to a report from Law360.

U.K. District Judge Nicholas Rimmer rejected Hamilton's plea that he should be tried in the country since the fraud he committed occurred outside the U.S.

"Wherever victims are based, it is in their interests for perpetrators involved to be prosecuted rather than not to be,” Judge Rimmer wrote, according to Law360. “This factor weighs in favor of extradition.”

The extradition may not be final if Hamilton decides to file an appeal. Additionally, the case will now be sent to the Secretary of State for a final decision.

Robert McDonald, a co-accused, avoided extradition on human rights grounds. McDonald is the prime care giver for his "extremely ill" wife and has expressed "clear and genuine suicidal intent, in the event he were to be extradited," according to the judgment cited in the Law360 report. The judge also stated that "there is no apparent evidence of monetary gain by Robert MacDonald."

Hamilton and McDonald are accused of laundering $105 million of the $4 billion global scam, which was perpetrated by fugitive "CryptoQueen" Ruja Ignatova.

The U.S. extradition proceedings relate to millions of dollars sent to accounts controlled by Hamilton in the name of an entity called Viola Asset Management. McDonald was the company's compliance officer.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.