Police in Russia have reportedly arrested an entrepreneur and “crypto influencer” known as Bitmama, aka the “Queen of Crypto,” on fraud charges.
Per Moskvich Magazine and the Telegram-based news networks Baza and Readovka, Valeria “Bitmama” Fedyakina was detained by police on September 15 after an “acquaintance” filed a fraud complaint.
The unnamed “acquaintance” claimed Fedyakina had duped him into handing over almost $70 million.
Police reportedly believe that other individuals also invested their money with Fedyakina, but suspected that she was in fact operating a “financial pyramid.”
When the allegations came to light, the media outlets reported, Fedyakina allegedly attempted to “escape” with her investors’ funds.
The outlets described her “disappearance” as “sudden” and occurring “around a week before her arrest.”
Fedyakina reportedly told investors that they could expect 1% returns on funds they deposited with her.
She is also the CEO and Founder of a crypto-related firm known as Holdinga.
Bitmama positioned herself as a crypto influencer, and amassed almost just short of 55,000 Instagram followers, as well as 7,000 followers on X (Twitter).
Her most recent Instagram post was made two weeks ago.
Another post on the network shows she was slated to speak at a Moscow based even on September 16.
However, her firm’s website appears to be offline at the time of writing, and she has not updated her X accounts since April this year.
Another website affiliated with her trademarked Bitmama brand also appear to be offline.
The media outlets reported that Fedyakina was six months pregnant at the time of her arrest, and stated that she could face up to 10 years if convicted.
Police reportedly decided to arrest Fedyakina as they thought she posed a flight risk.
She is being held in a pre-trial detention center awaiting a court hearing.
Who Is Russian ‘Crypto Queen’ Valeria Fedyakina?
The crypto influencer holds a UAE residence permit and listed Dubai as her location on social media channels.
Fedyakina was named as one the “10 Innovative And Driven Women Entrepreneurs to Follow in 2023” in a listicle published by the International Business Times earlier this year.
She was also featured in English-language media outlets such as the Arabian Post.
Fedyakina (28) had previously spoken of crypto’s sanctions-evading potential for Russians, and reportedly worked with a range of “wealthy” clients.
Moskvich Magazine wrote that she had been “working with crypto exchanges for a long time,” and noted: “She usually receives cash from clients and withdraws funds abroad for a fee.”
Fedyakina claimed she had “extensive connections” with “businesses and state-run corporations.”
The same media outlet wrote that Bitmama’s “daily turnover” was in the “tens of millions of dollars.”
Earlier this month, police officers in the Russian Far East arrested a crypto miner believed to have caused “large-scale” damage by illegally connecting rigs directly to a local power grid.