Russian law enforcement authorities have detained six more members and executives of the notorious crypto Ponzi scheme Finiko. Police in the Republic of Tatarstan and Russia proper have conducted dozens of searches as part of an ongoing investigation into the pyramid, which defrauded investors around the world.
New Arrests in Finiko Case Made in Russian Federation
The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the help of the National Guard of the Russian Federation, has taken into custody six participants and leaders of Finiko, Russia’s largest financial pyramid in recent decades. The members of the fraudulent scheme have been active between January 2018 and July 2021 in Tatarstan and other Russian regions, the ministry’s spokesperson Irina Volk told Tass.
Volk explained that they advertised the project to attract investors with promises of extraordinarily high profits in the range of 3 to 5% a day. The fraudsters asked them to convert their fiat money into bitcoin and send it to the crypto wallets controlled by Finiko. Their personal accounts were then credited with “Tsifron,” the platform’s own currency.
In reality, Finiko was never registered as a legal entity in Russia and did not make any investments on behalf of its clients. After some time, it simply stopped paying investors the promised dividends and they were unable to withdraw their funds. The complaints of more than 5,000 people are now part of the materials for the criminal case.
Officially recognized losses exceed 5 billion rubles ($65 million) but the actual total may be much higher. According to a report by blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, the scam had received over $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin in 800,000 separate deposits between December 2019 and August 2021. Citizens of Russia, Ukraine and other former-Soviet republics, several EU member states, and the U.S. are among the victims.
A number of Finiko’s top figures were arrested last year, including the pyramid’s founder and mastermind Kirill Doronin, two of its vice presidents, Ilgiz Shakirov and Dina Gabdullina, as well as Lilia Nurieva, who rose to the rank of a so-called “10th Star.” In November, Doronin offered to testify against 44 of his accomplices. His close associates Zygmunt Zygmuntovich, Marat Sabirov and Edward Sabirov, left Russia as the crypto scheme collapsed last summer, avoiding detention.
Irina Volk noted that property belonging to the accused worth more than 1.3 billion rubles has been confiscated. Representatives of the Russian interior ministry’s Investigative Department have carried out over 70 searches alongside the latest arrests, seizing documents and computer equipment as evidence for the case.
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