Mark Scott, the former Locke Lord attorney who is currently on trial for his involvement in the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam, has claimed in court that he was unaware that OneCoin was involved in any kind of illegal dealings, or that (for example), the project did not have a blockchain.
The most recent piece of this argument is that Neil Bush–the brother of former President George W. Bush and son of the late President George H.W. Bush–met with Ruja Ignatova, the “CryptoQueen” who masterminded the scam. Ignatova, who is at large, has been indicted on money laundering and fraud charges.
Citing transcripts of the case, Law360 reported that Neil Bush, who is an investor, was paid $300,000 to attend a meeting where Ignatova was present. Scott and his attorney, Arlo Devlin-Brown, have made the argument to US District Judge Edgardo Ramos that Bush’s association with the project made Scott feel as though it was legitimate.
However, Devlin-Brown made a point of saying that “this isn’t just: ‘We saw the name Bush on a transaction and cut a subpoena. The government interviewed Mr. Bush twice.”
”So, there was an actual meeting with Ms. Ignatova, Mr. Bush and Mr. Hui?”…”Yes, Your Honor.”
And indeed it did. Law360 reported that Neil Bush was contacted by the FBI because of the fact that he is on the board of Hoifu Energy, a company owned by wealthy Chinese businessman Dr. Hui Chi Ming.
Ming was allegedly at the center of a $60 million deal that would have provided a loan to buy an African oil field, a deal that would be financed with cash and “a very large portion of the purchase price” in OneCoin.
When Judge Ramos asked if there was “an actual meeting with Ms. Ignatova, Mr. Bush and Mr. Hui?”, David Brown, another member of Scott’s counsel, replied with “Yes, Your Honor.”
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Garvin then read aloud from an FBI report that “Bush recalled that the head of Hoifu Energy, Dr. Hui Chi Ming, received a bunch of cryptocurrency for an oil deal in Madagascar.”
“Bush had a residual interest in the cryptocurrency from the oil deal. Bush met the woman from the cryptocurrency company, Ruja Ignatova, in Hong Kong with Dr. Hui.”
Ruja Ignatova’s brother faces 90 years in prison; US DOJ makes requests to Judge Ramos’s court room
The revelation of Bush’s involvement in the case is the latest development in a confounding saga of alleged fraud, money laundering, and disappearance.
Last week, the United States Department of Justice made a plea deal with Konstantin Ignatov, brother and former assistant of Ruja Ignatova.
According to CoinDesk, “Ignatov will not face further charges as they emerge against OneCoin and its constituents, with the exception of possible tax violations;” however, he faces up to 90 years in prison.
A letter from an attorney at the United States Department of Justice published yesterday said that the government “respectfully requests” that Judge Ramos’s court prevent Mark Scott from “eliciting testimony from defense character witnesses regarding specific instances of [his] conduct,” and to let the jury know that (2) instruct the jury that “the duty of client confidentiality cannot serve as a defense to criminal conduct.”
Therefore, “none of the email communications admitted by the Government at trial—including communications between the defendant and Ruja Ignatova—are privileged.”