Police Seek Russian Crypto-Ponzi Founders as Investigation Continues

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Finiko co-founders Zygmunt Zygmuntovich and Edward and Marat Sabirov remain at large; their whereabouts are unknown.
  • Company co-founder Kirill Doronin was detained on fraud charges on July 30.
  • Finiko Ponzi scheme could have cost $95M worth of financial damages to investors.
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The Russian police are continuing their investigation into a crypto-based Ponzi scheme that has cost investors a potential total of $95 million.

Back in July, around 100 investors sent statements to the police reporting the financial organization Finiko. These statements confirmed financial damages totaling at millions of rubles. However, further reports stipulated that the amount could be as much as 7 billion rubles. Equating to around $95 million at time of press.

Police are currently seeking out three of the Finiko co-founders, who remain at large. The whereabouts of Zygmunt Zygmuntovich and Edward and Marat Sabirov are currently unknown. Russian officials put the men on a wanted list on August 11.

Meanwhile, the police detained their fellow co-founder, Kirill Doronin on July 30. Reports indicate that he was charged with fraud “on an especially large scale”, pursuant to part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The court heard that Doronin had obtained Turkish citizenship prior to arrest; reportedly under the pretext of establishing a trading company in Turkey.

The investigation and the prosecution petitioned that Doronin be detained until the end of September. Meanwhile, the defense requested house arrest as an alternative, reasoning that Doronin’s wife is pregnant, with the birth imminent.

The case against Finiko opened back in December 2020. In addition, the Bank of Russia listed the organization as an entity that showed signs of a Ponzi scheme in early July.

Russia takes steps against crypto-based crime

Recent reports revealed that a Russian financial watchdog group has begun development on a new cryptocurrency tracking tool. A tool intended to help crack down on cryptocurrency-based crime in the country. It will particularly target crypto wallets believed to have ties to illegal activity or terrorist financing. The software will also monitor the crypto market to determine users that could have engaged in criminal activity.

The financial watchdog in question, Rosfinmonitoring, hired a contractor to build the tracking tool for $200,000. Major information tech company RCO ultimately won the contract. According to reports, they will handle “Implementation of work on the creation of a module for monitoring and analyzing cryptocurrency transactions using bitcoin.”

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Dale Hurst
Dale Hurst is a journalist, presenter, and novelist. Before joining the Be In Crypto team, he was an editor and senior journalist at a news, lifestyle and human-interest magazine in the UK. Cryptocurrency was one of the first subjects he specialized in when first going freelance in 2018, reviewing exchanges and analysing lawsuits.
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