The Co-founder of Finiko, Russia’s Largest Cryptocurrency Pyramid, Was Detained in the UAE

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Last Updated on November 18, 2022 by Bitfinsider

According to the Russian portal “Business Online”, Zygmunt Zygmuntovich, a co-founder and high-ranking representative of what is perhaps the biggest Ponzi scheme in Russia since MMM in the 1990s, has been apprehended in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Prosecutor General’s Office in Russia has verified the arrest.

The 24-year-old German has reportedly been detained in a prison in the Gulf state since early September, according to the website. The local Interpol office alerted the news source that Russian prosecutors were aware of his incarceration. The country’s Ministry of Justice has already received an extradition request from Russia, which the relevant authorities in Abu Dhabi are presently reviewing.

Zygmuntovich was placed on a global wanted list together with Marat Sabirov and Edward Sabirov, two other accomplices of Finiko’s creator Kirill Doronin, who has been imprisoned since July 2021, when Russian law enforcement opened a criminal probe into the fraudulent investment scam. As the financial pyramid was falling apart, the three men were able to escape Russia.

At this time, it is unknown where the Sabirovs are, and it is also unclear exactly why Zygmuntovich was taken into custody. However, reputable sources have told “Business Online” that his two ex-partners might have provided security forces with information regarding his whereabouts.

There are 22 additional defendants in the criminal case, including Finiko’s senior promoters. They include two females, Lilia Nurieva and Dina Gabdullina, as well as Ilgiz Shakirov, who was detained in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, the Ponzi scheme’s base of operations, and was Finiko’s vice president and Doronin’s right-hand man. The architect of Finiko volunteered to testify against 44 of his associates in November of last year.

The Finiko leaders and members allegedly lured at least 5 billion rubles (more than $80 million) into the pyramid scheme, but the true sum of the losses is probably much greater, according to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The funds originated from scammed investors in the US, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and other EU countries as well as in Russia and other former Soviet states.

Numerous victims were instructed to send cryptocurrency to wallet addresses managed by the fictitious firm Finiko. Between December 2019 and August 2021, the pyramid received more than $1.5 billion in bitcoin, according to an analysis by Chainalysis, a blockchain forensics company. 800,000 investments of coins were made by customers who had been enticed by the promise of up to 30% monthly profits.

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