This is a story of how the NBU protects the illegal business of payments reception for online casinos, bookmakers as well as for services related to the porn industry.
With the knowledge of the National Bank of Ukraine, in despite of the imposed sanctions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, PrivatBank payment systems are being implemented – on the favourite classification of the Security Service – “financing of terrorism and transfer of funds to the Russian Federation”.
The key figures of this business are Valeria Vagorovskaya and Igor Fisun. The head of PrivatBank e-business Sergey Kharytich also gets a share.
If you do not go into technical difficulties and special terminology , then the situation with the payment system market in Ukraine can be described with one word – uncertainty.
The National Bank issues licenses for remittance of funds in national currency without opening an account. At the same time, in a parallel as if unregulated by NBU universe, there are systems of virtual money, such as webmoney and btc, which have no official status but are used as means of payment.
At the same time, there are certain bans on the use of electronic payment systems, in particular, the NSDCS sanctions, in which a number of systems are defined as “pro-Russian” and used to “finance terrorism”.
Back in 2016, the National Bank of Ukraine had sent an alert to financial institutions informing them about the prohibition on the use of WebMoney, Yandex.Money, Qiwi Wallet and Wallet payment systems. The reason for the ban is the incoherence of rules on the use of electronic money.
The provision of services using these trademarks is prohibited because these systems also provide:
– Service for payment intake for online casinos, bookmakers, services related to the porn industry through the Internet. These payment systems cause this businesses to grow because of the payments that are coming through them.
– Transfer of funds through Russian payment systems that are banned in Ukraine. It is for this reason in May 2018 the electronic payment system WebMoney fell into the sanctions list of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine and with it the Ukrainian Webmoney.ua, despite having the license from NBU. The payment system TYME also was added to this list due to it carrying out transfers to the Russian Federation.
It would seem that the NSDC and the NBU are struggling with illegal payment systems. But, in fact, we are dealing not with a struggle, but with another mechanism of official racketeering, which prohibits operations with “illegal” systems only to those who did not pay bribes for this.
Now I will tell you about the largest players in the payment market, which, despite the prohibitions of the regulator, are engaged in illegal activities right in front of Smoliys face. And not only they let themselves accept payments from casinos and porn industry but these people and their companies are also busy with making and taking in transfers and payments, which the Security Service classifies as “the financing of terrorism on the LDPR territory”.
At the same time, NBU – this direction is supervised by the personal head of the central bank Smoliy – intentionally does not notice these circumstances and continues to issue “the right” systems for a license for making transfers of funds in national currency.
Coincidence? I don`t think so.
During the period from 2014 to 2018, the NBU and the NSDC has restricted a number of Internet providers to grant Internet users with access to some resources/ services. The prohibitions concerned such domain names as “webmoney.ru”, “paymaster.ua”, “elmi.ua” , “wm-factor. com. ua”, etc. As a result, many payment systems in general officially ceased to exist.
If you act according to the law, it is impossible to accept bank or credit cards for the calculation of the used service without the official NBU license. But the given company has bypassed these norms, having created some tens ephemeral firms through which payments and withdrawals go.
This payment system was organized by Igor Fisun and Valeriya Vagorovskaya, through the involvement of the management team and developers of PrivatBank. In 2014 almost the whole team of the e-business center left the nationalized bank and with the money of Fisun and Vagorovskaya opened a company. It includes the Ukrainian, European and Russian branches.
Now Igor Fisun is not a member of this company and the management team is in the hands of Valeriya Vagorovskaya, who owns several citizenships and most of her time she lives abroad. Vagorovskaya actively develops her payment system and is often published in the media.
The main FONDY clients are casinos, bookmakers, services related to the porn industry, in other words all businesses that are illegal in Ukraine. The acceptance of payments is carried out through Ukrainian and European banks. Since FONDY does not have a license from the NBU, the following companies were registered (and/or purchased):
LLC FC Elaens – the company provides financial services and, according to the NBU license – transfers money in national currency without having an account. The owner of “Elaens” is Valeria Vagorovskaya.
It is possible to consult about how this work is done in the record of court decisions: according to the courts decision in January 2018, several companies, including LLC FC Elaens, were involved in cashing and withdrawal of funds obtained by criminal means for illegally operating casinos, sweeptakes, slot machines, by using Megapay.ua, Pay-trio.com, Fondy.ua acquiring systems, which are not registered on the territory of Ukraine.
On the basis of this resolution – the NBU had already every right to suspend license and the work of the FONDY payment system. But this does not happen, because the system is protected personally by Smoliy.
LLC Elaens Service – also appears with similar charges in the specified court order. The owner of the company is Zapototsky Stefan, who together with Valeriya Vagorovskya created FC “Elaens”. The founder of Elaens Service is the “sensational” company of Vagorovskaya – “Foxvippayment” , through which Amstor money were withdrawn in 2014.
The withdrawal of funds occurs through certain depositary accounts registered on banking institutions located on the territory of Ukraine. In this criminal case, the bank “PIVDENNIY” appears, in which accounts for the transfer of money were opened. Bank “PIVDENNIY” was caught having connections with the “overseer” of Odessa Yuriy Ivanyuschenko, and also participated in the scheme for withdrawal of money through the Regionala Investiciju Banka AS( Latvia) bank, which belongs to Yuriy Rodin and Mark Becker – the owners of the bank “PIVDENNIY”.
SIA WPS (Latvia) also provided financial services, but in March 2018 the liquidation process began. Its director – Diana Morozova, previously worked in one of the largest banks of Latvia – ABLV. In February 2018 , the US accused the bank of money laundering and avoiding monetary controls, as well as assisting North Korea in the implementation of its nuclear program. It was decided to liquidate the bank. Igor Fisun is also listed in the owners of SIA WPS and the events that occurred in the ABLV bank could hardly be called a coincidence.
Another example is the courts decision of October 5, 2017, which states that the amount of legalized income received by criminal means is 350 million dollars a year. Then this income is redirected to the territory of the Russian Federation.
Among the companies that participated in this scheme were also companies, to which Valeriya Vagorovskaya had a direct bearing, namely, “Payment Technologies” and “Digital Payment Systems” ( the owner of the walletone.com payment system). These firms, at one time, together developed and implemented the payment service “Walletone W1”(walletone.com), and their director was an employee of the “Foxvippayment”- the company of Vagorovskaya.
In order to receive payments for illegal activities, the following domain names have been registered:
It is not hard to guess that the biggest frauds occurred with the use of open accounts in PrivatBank – which is clearly indicated in the court`s decision. However, despite such a trail, payment systems continue their illegal activities and cooperation with banks that are aware of their actions, but still go into breaking the law: the monthly turnover from illegal activities of this company group is tens of millions of euros.
According to the materials of criminal proceedings, the main banks that service Vagorovskaya are PrivatBank, TAS-Kombank, Pivdenniy, PUMB. At the same time, according to my sources, TAS-Kombank purchased software from the Fondy company through which it processes payments, including illegal types of electronic commerce.
Interkassa – created by Yuriy Chaika, and initially its main direction was a completely legal business for acceptance of payments on the Internet. After he sold it to Igor Fisun, the company began accepting payments for everything, including illegal types of electronic commerce.
In 2014, it was published that Fisun sold the company “Interkassa” but it was done because of the war that broke out in Ukraine,given that the main source of income for the company was Russia. Another obvious reason for the sale was that Interkassa was receiving and sending payments to LDNR. Or, as the SBU likes to say, “the financing of terrorists in the east of Ukraine”, because the legal name of the firm that owns the payment system Interkassa is “Payment Technologies”.
Fisun registered a number of companies that served the activities of “Interkassa”
One of them is LLC “Suchasni platizhny rishennya (SPR)” which is used in the scheme of illegal conversion of monetary resources and electronic funds into cash, with their subsequent legalization, by withdrawal out of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
In addition to SPR, a number of other companies were used:
LLC “National payment and collection processing centre”;
LLC “Payment Technologies”
LLC “Intway Ukraine”
LLC “C.I.General(?) LTD”
LLC ”System integration”
LLC “Internet service Ukraine”
Each of these companies appear in criminal cases about illegal conversion and legalization.
Please note that there is a company in the list with the same name – LLC”Interkassa”. The company is in conjunction with the main “schemers” on the withdrawal of money.
The registry has 77 judicial decisions related to illegal operations.
Payment system “paymaster.ua” was the daughter of the company “webmoney” RF and worked in Ukraine until May 2018, until it fell under the sanctions. Up to a certain point this company, without hesitation, accepted payments both for legitimate businesses, such as Kyivstar, Rozetka, Allo, Sinevo Laboratory, Foxtrot, Moyo.ua, Bus Station Odessa, Busfor.ua- and for illegal gambling halls, casinos, etc. However, in 2016 they agreed to accept payments for rozetka.ua and all illegal business was transferred to the new site “global-payment-solution.com”.
After blocking paymaster.ua and banning the activities of their Ukrainian financial company, in order to continue to service payments to rozetka.ua, the owners of the company opened the site “paysoft.solutions”. Now it is the one that accepts payments on “rozetka”. In fact, the “shell” of the payment system is changing, but money continue to be withdrawn through a number of companies to the Russian Federation.
How such cooperation and financial operations are allowed by the owners of “rozetka” – is beyond me.
Another electronic business of Fisun is the payment system “tranzzo.com”. Its main activity is the consolidated servicing of financial transactions and the payments intake for Interkassa. Tranzzo is a technical partner of Interkassa on one hand, and on the other hand, the partners are Igor Fisun`s Latvian WPS SIA, London-based Tranzzo.Ltd, offshore company PAYWAYS SYSTEM INC, which also serves the Interkassa payment system, as well as LLC Fineexpress, which is registered for financial transactions.
Separately in this situation it is worth noting the activities of PrivatBank, through which the system Liqpay services payments of the above described web. Even though the bank constantly incurs huge losses due to fines from Visa and Mastercard, for servicing illegal and forbidden businesses in terms of accepting Internet payments, apparently the responsible employees are “motivated” to let that slide.
For the uninformed, it is worth mentioning that the Internet payment business is controlled by Sergey Kharytich, the head of electronic business of PrivatBank, and he is obliged to take measures to curb the illegal activities of PrivatBank.
In turn, the NBU does not take any measures to combat such illegal activities, and the main figures of the schemes issue licenses, despite the huge number of criminal cases against related persons.
Probably, because Granpa Smoliy can’t decide what he likes best – whether its “soft core” or money. Therefore, he consumes both.