Working for the Russian Federation, offshores and "computer wholesale": how online casinos operate in Ukraine

Working for the Russian Federation, offshores and "computer wholesale": how online casinos operate in Ukraine

The Mind’s special investigation. Leogaming Pay (Alena Degrik Shevtsova), Ibox Bank (Ibox terminals), and others: where does the money from Ukrainian online casinos go?

Цей матеріал також доступний українською Этот материал также доступен на русском
Leogaming Pay (Alyona Degrik Shevtsova), Ibox Bank (ibox terminals) and others - where does the money go from online casinos in Ukraine
Online casinos in Ukraine
Photo: pixabay

Tenders, corruption schemes, selling official positions, and lobbying regulatory resolutions  Ukrainian officials and oligarchs have made us get accustomed to all these phenomena. But not everyone manages to build a gray (semi-legal) large-scale systemic business on that. Most of those who were able to do so at the beginning of the decade are now continuing their business in the city of Rostov, Russia, or in the occupied territories.

The demand for cash in Ukraine remains steadily high, which means that someone is definitely going to start doing it. And if the development of technology and the popularity of Internet games can be used in this "process," the business can really grow to an impressive scale. The Mind investigates how the system of recharging online gaming and online casino accounts works, how this system allows the development of cash-out, what is legal about it, and who earns money on it. 

High Stakes

Watching a good movie on a cold autumn evening is a kind of anti-stress. But the prerequisite for watching it is the obtrusive advertising: "Get rid of your old PlayStation and win the fifth model on Cosmolot's birthday!", "They promise – you win. Get into the political fray. Come to the polls. Parimatch".

Cosmolot and Parimatch ads on a movie viewing site

Wait.

Parimatch is a well-known bookmaker's office, which has been officially engaged in gambling since 2006. But starting from October 22, 2020, any casino in Ukraine is operating illegally.

The license which allows such activity expired for all specialized companies on October 12 – exactly three months after the new law "On state regulation of activities on organizing and conducting gambling".

According to the law, the license for the organizers of such kind of entertainment is to be issued by a new body, the Commission for the Development and Regulation of Gambling. Its chairman has just been elected but its team hasn't been fully formed yet. It turns out that while this commission is not working, the gambling market is living its own life. A secret life.

"According to experts, about 90% of gambling business in Ukraine is in the shadows," explains economist Alexander Khmelevsky. – On September 23, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted Resolution No. 891, which created the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries. It is expected that the first licenses for the gambling business will be issued in November. Therefore not a single company has received a license under the new law.

The so-called state lotteries, Ukrainian National Lottery, MSL, and Patriot, were also outlawed. Since MSL's license expired several years ago, the Mind journalists asked its online support chat about the grounds on which the lottery continues to operate.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Screenshot from the website of the Golden Cup lottery, which also does not have a valid license to organize gambling
Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Screenshot of messaging with MS’s online support

"Operators of state lotteries operating under the Law of Ukraine "On state lotteries in Ukraine" (dated 06.10.2012) have the right to conduct activities on the emission and running of lotteries under this law until the end of three months after the adoption of new regulations," MSL support told us in the online chat on October 6.

However, even on October 23, it was possible to place bets on the official MSL site. On that date, it was already in defiance of the law.

Added to the absurdity of the situation is the fact that these "state" lotteries have nothing to do with state property: the ultimate beneficial owner of UNL is a Chinese company, and the founder of MSL and Patriot is a Cyprus firm.

But there are also “brave” participants in the Ukrainian gambling market who have been working in the shadows for years. They have never obtained a license for lotteries from the Ministry of Finance and do not officially declare that they are engaged in the gambling business.

Take for example Cosmolot and 1xbet, whose advertisements can often be found on movie viewing websites.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
By replenishing the account in Cosmolot, the player finances Digispace Ltd.

Under the cover of the much-hyped brand Cosmolot, a company called Digispace LLC is hiding. And by replenishing a 1xbet game account, players are actually funding Redsin LLC.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
The brand of the online casino 1xbet hides the company Redsin LLC, which sells computers

According to YouControl, Digispace LLC and Redsin LLC have never been involved in organizing online casinos, bookmakers' bets, or lotteries. But in their registration documents, they published a completely different activity profile – "wholesale of computers".

We noticed that both of these companies have a very modest authorized capital – 80,000 hryvnias. According to the law, the authorized capital of the company organizing a gambling business should be at least UAH 30 million. This makes sense as in the case if a player wins a million-dollar jackpot, where will the company get the money to pay out the win?

It turns out that in terms of the law the players of Cosmolot and 1xbet have no right to claim any payments at all, even if they win a colossal amount. Therefore, naturally, you can find countless complaints against these online platforms by players in the public domain. Money disappears from the gambling account balance, and there is no one to complain to.

All this resembles a fraudulent scheme that continues to operate. It is left to find out who else is taking part in it?

Business partners of the gambling barons

The money in the accounts of illegal gambling businesses under the brands of Favorit Sport, Cosmolot, and 1xbet arrive not by a wave of a magic wand. These online casinos are supported by business partners. There are even popular Ukrainian brands among them, for example, mobile operator Kyivstar and self-service terminals Ibox and Easypay.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
On its official website, mobile operator Kyivstar offers to replenish the account of Digispace, which is engaged in the gambling business, even though it has a different profile of activity

On the website of the online casino Cosmolot, there are more than a thousand slot machines. But Kyivstar hides Cosmolot on its website behind the phrase "sports poker and cybersports tournament" by Digispace LLC. Cosmolot, on the contrary, is not ashamed of its business partners: the site of the illegal online casino offers to make money bets by paying through Kyivstar.

At the same time, Kyivstar’s official website does not mention such cooperation and the mobile operator calls itself a "socially responsible company".

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Screenshot from Cosmolot’s illegal online casino website

Meanwhile, with the help of such "responsible" partners, not only a person who is 21 or older (as required by law), but even a child can fall into the gambling trap. We registered on the Cosmolot and 1xbet platforms in a few seconds and noticed that there was no player age verification procedure there.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
The gambling account in the illegal online casino 1xbet can be replenished through self-service terminals, which can be found everywhere
Author's photos

To make sure that the business scheme works even now, we used the Ibox self-service terminal to replenish our 1xbet and Cosmolot accounts. Everything worked out with flying colors: the cash disappeared in the terminal and arrived in the gambling account.

The receipt we got from the terminal stated that the funds were credited to the account of Digispace LLC and Redsin LLC, the companies that hide behind the brands of these online casinos.

Theoretically, even more information about the payment can be provided by the bank account statement. Therefore, we recharge 1xbet for UAH 25 through the Privat24 option, i.e. using a PrivatBank card.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
The process of replenishing 1xbet gambling account on the site via PrivatBank bank card

But afterward, we found out that the receipt with the beneficiary's details could be received this way either:
"You made the payment on a third-party site and not through the Privat24 interface. In this situation we can only tell you the name of the website where this payment was made," explained the manager of PrivatBank Mykola. “The website where you made the payment sends us a request to debit the money, and the funds are sent to this website, which is then assigning where these funds will be credited. This is no longer up to the bank. I see the owner of the terminal, Leogaming. This is all the information the bank has about this payment".

The name of the company Leogaming also appears in a new Cosmolot's ad on Kyivstars’ website. And this time the mobile operator is not shy about advertising an illegal activity on its website.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Cosmolot's Illegal casino advertisement on the website of mobile operator Kyivstar

But we were unable to withdraw the money from the account PrivatBank's card: our attempts failed, and the sum of UAH 45 remained on the website https://ua-1x-bet.com/ua/.

Vasily, an online consultant of 1xbet, responded this way: "As there is a promotional campaign on your account, withdrawal of personal funds is not available. You can either use the bonus (play or lose), or you can refuse the bonus. Then the bonus funds are canceled and you will be able to withdraw your personal funds.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
1xbet website screenshot

Having gambled at 1xbet, we lost 40 hryvnias in just two minutes: "No luck".

But what does Leogaming, which was mentioned by the manager of PrivatBank, have to do with this?

Cunning clones

We google Leogaming and go to the first link, the site https://leogaming.ua/. Here we find the financial statements of FC Leogaming Pay LLC, a payment system that processed UAH 262 million in remittances last year. The company says that it earns 1 to 1.25% of the amount of each payment.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Excerpt from FC Leogaming Pay LLC's 2019 financial report

In public reports, we see a list of companies with which FC Leogaming Pay LLC conducts financial transactions. Among them are Kyivstar, EasyPay, and Ibox brands, with the help of which illegal casinos make money.

However... As shown by our journalistic experiment, FC Leogaming Pay LLC also receives money for "replenishing the balance of the gaming accounts. Therefore, the manager of PrivatBank did not lie when he said that Leogaming received our money for funding the 1xbet illegal online casino.

We found out that  leogaming.NET a clone of https://leogaming.UA/, helps to make money by "recharging the balance of game accounts".

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Screenshot of Google search results for Leogaming

We saw the leogaming.net ad on the Facebook page of Alena Shevtsova (maiden name Degrik), the ultimate beneficial owner and CEO of FC Leogaming Pay LLC.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Alena (Degrik) Shevtsova
Screenshot of Alena Degrik’s Facebook page
Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Alena Degrik (Shevtsova) published a photo of a leaflet advertising Leogaming.net.
Screenshot of Facebook page

If the State Register of Legal Entities is correct, Alena Shevtsova has nothing to do with the leogaming.net website, as this platform states that it belongs to the company Glorius LLC, whose owners are foreign companies. The ownership structure of Glorius LLC is a classic tangle of offshore firms from Belize, the Marshall Islands, and the Virgin Islands.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Screenshot of leogaming.net

Typically, offshore companies act as founders of Ukrainian enterprises to hide the real owners and quietly move illegally obtained funds abroad. At the same time, they pay minimum taxes. For example, according to the legislation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, international companies do not have to pay income tax if they receive income outside the republic.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
One of the ultimate beneficiaries of Leogaming.net is hidden 12,000 km away from Ukraine on the expanses of a poor island country – the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Photo: Flickr

It is remarkable that the director of Glorius LLC, Vladimir Klubuk, does not appear in the media space.

What makes the director and founders of the company shamefully hide from the public? Fear of punishment for neglecting Ukrainian legislation?

To hear their opinion we sent a letter to Glorius LLC e-mail address support@leogaming.net. At the time of publishing this article, we had not received an answer. But we are ready to publish it later.

We also tried to contact Glorius LLC by phone number +380567786869 mentioned in the State Register. But no one answered the phone. Using the analytical platform YouControl, we found out that this phone number was assigned to at least three other companies.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
The company Glorius LLC, which owns the site Leogaming.net, is registered in this building in the city of Dnipro on Sergei Nigoyan Street, 52.
Author's photo

Finding Leogaming.net office at the place of registration is also a problem: according to the Ministry of Justice, Glorius LLC is registered in Dnipro, in an old shabby building of the district office of the Pension Fund of Ukraine.

According to data of YouControl, Glorius LLC is not financially successful either: during last year the company had a miserable income of about 40 000 hryvnias. And on 1 September 2020, it even had a tax debt of UAH 195.

Why so? The Leogaming.net website says "Leogaming company accepts payments for online gambling accounts". But in the state register, the company's activity profile sounds differently: "automobiles and light motor vehicles for rent".

It turns out that Leogaming.net operates in the payments market illegally. At the same time LeoWallet, an e-wallet, whose payment agent is FC Leogaming Pay LLC, also helps to pay the gambling bills.

Now it's understandable why on her page Alena Degrik (Shevtsova) publishes advertisement leaflets of Leogaming.net website that officially does not belong to her.

And the most annoying thing in this story is that some games from Leogaming.net are owned by Russian companies. But who would risk participating in a scheme to finance an occupying state in time of war?

Expensive Russian Tanks

Alternativa Game, "one of the best game development teams in Russia", employs over 90 people. And the staff continues to grow: now there are open vacancies in the offices in Perm and St. Petersburg with salaries starting from 30,000 Russian rubles.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Office of the Russian company Alternativa Game
Photo from public sources

And the Russians are paid... by Ukrainians who play the popular online game Tanks Online. Without regret, gamers spend hundreds and thousands of hryvnias to buy a new virtual tank or other weapons. Since now there are over 20 million registered users from all over the world, the revenues of such business are enormous.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Players buy virtual currency to purchase weapons in the online game

Through a journalistic experiment, we made sure: some Ukrainian companies still do not miss the opportunity to make money on financial flows of virtual money transfers to the Russian Federation, even despite the war in Donbass and the annexed Crimea.

For example, Ukrainian mobile operators lifecell and Kyivstar withdraw funds from their subscribers' accounts to pay for the Tanks Online game accounts..

To recharge the account in the Russian game, we used the services of the Ukrainian mobile operator lifecell

The brands of self-service terminals Ibox and EasyPay. are not reeking of such illegal financial transactions with the Russian Federation as well. At the same time, having replenished the game account through these terminals, we see the recipient of funds in the receipt – FC Leogaming Pay LLC.

FC Leogaming Pay LLC received funds for the replenishment of the gaming account.

In its mobile application, LeoWallet payment system (owed by FC Leogaming Pay LLC) gives a long list of Russian brands which accounts can be recharged: online games Tanks Online, Front Line, Russian Fishing, Bratva, Barbarians, Magicians, Gnomograd, Edge of Reality, Juggernaut; Virtual Football League bookmakers and others.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля комп’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Screenshot of the interface in the LeoWallet mobile app

Alena (Degrik) Shevtsova was able to establish close business ties with Russia with the FSB-recruited Ukrainian philanthropist Timofey Nagorny, with whom she has been acquainted for ten years. Shevtsova's company, Leo Partners, serves Nagorny's charitable foundation, the Volunteers Foundation of Ukraine. And in the foundation itself, she was vice-president back in 2011.

However, after Nagorny's pro-Russian activities were exposed by the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), information about such cooperation disappeared from the website of Leo Partners. We found Alena Shevtsova's words about cooperation with Nagorny only in the cached version of the website.

We sent information requests to the owners of lifecell, Kyivstar, Ibox, EasyPay, and Leogaming brands, asking why they provide the opportunity to finance a Russian company with their services.

"Regarding the client of the provider of the "service" to replenish deposits (accounts) of the Tanks Online game, the Company as the subject of primary financial monitoring has implemented the requirements of the legislation in the area of financial monitoring – identification, verification, examination, etc., and, in particular, the requirements for checking the existence in respect of the client and persons related to him of the sanctions defined by the legislation of Ukraine ("sanctions list"), the results of which established that there are no sanctions in respect of the client and persons related to him (...) and, in particular, therefore contractual relationship to provide financial services between such client and the Company is possible"- commented Easypay Communications Department.

In their turn, mobile operators pretended not to understand their involvement in the financing of the Russian Federation:

"Kyivstar JSC strictly complies with the legislation of Ukraine in general and the sanctions in particular, and does not cooperate with legal entities and individuals included in the sanction lists of Ukraine, the United States, the EU, and the United Kingdom" commented Kyivstar's press service.

After this article was published, Kyivstar added: "The SMART-Money service, a mobile wallet, works as an online platform that allows Kyivstar prepaid subscribers to pay for more than 3,000 services from their mobile accounts. Kyivstar subscribers can pay for 3,000 services via SMART-Money service under contractual relations with one of the payment systems, namely the VPS FINANCIAL WORLD, MPS LEO, MPS GlobalMoney (hereinafter – PS), established and operating under the laws of Ukraine. Direct service agreements are concluded by the above-mentioned PS. If you have any questions about the terms and procedures for providing services by the PS, please contact the relevant PS", added Kyivstar..

"The service Tanks Online refers to the category of games that are not prohibited by the current legislation of Ukraine. lifecell acts solely under the laws of Ukraine and has not entered into a contract with Alternativa Game LLC. The possibility for lifecell subscribers to pay for Tanks Online service is carried out under contractual relations with one of the payment systems created and operating under the legislation of Ukraine", said the Department of Corporate Communications of lifecell.

We have not received a reply from Ibox as of the date of publication. But we are ready to publish the company's explanation later..

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
On their official websites, mobile operators advertise the possibility of recharging the account for a Russian company

While we are waiting for their response, the companies perfectly play the role of patriots: lifecell offers discounts on service packages for the ATO participants, Kyivstar advertises online books about the Russian-Ukrainian war, Leo Partners "actively supports the soldiers who bravely defended the Ukrainian land in the ATO zone," and Parimatch initiates advertising campaigns with the slogan "Enter a tournament for Defender of Ukraine Day and contend for a guaranteed million hryvnias.

Still, it's odd. Do these financial operations go unnoticed by law enforcement agencies?

"Virtual" offices

Until recently, Alena Degrik (Shevtsova) was the sole owner of the company FC Leogaming Pay LLC. But in 2019, she let two companions into her business: the former Boryspil district state administration vice-chairman Vadim Gordievsky, infamous for corruption controversies, and Viktor Kapustin, the ex-chief executive of Ukreximbank.

The company's business quickly expanded: in the first six months of 2020, the payment system increased its transaction volume almost sevenfold.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля комп’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Vadim Gordievsky; photo from Vadim Gordievsky's Facebook page

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Viktor Kapustin is the chairman of the Chess Federation of Ukraine. Therefore, Leogaming sponsors the chess tournaments
Photo: CFS

However, this is not their only joint business. According to the Ministry of Justice, over the past four years, Shevtsova, Gordievsky, and Kapustin have collectively run at least ten companies, many of which have been the subject of criminal proceedings under the criminal articles "Fraud", "Money Laundering", and "Fraudulent Entrepreneurship”.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні

Having visited the registration addresses of Shevtsova, Gordievsky, and Kapustin, we became certain that there are no really operating offices there.

FC Leogaming Pay LLC is only virtually located at its legal address, in a beautiful administrative building at 2G Les Kurbas Avenue, which is far from the city center. According to the local security guard, they do not have not only an office but even a post office box here.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
In this building, the company FC Leogaming Pay LLC is registered.
Photo by the author

The company Leomed IT is registered in the center of the capital – in an office building on Sportivnaya Square, 3V. However, the security guard of this business center was very surprised when we mentioned the name of the company we were looking for: “Look, we have a list of companies with office numbers, right at the entrance. Leomed IT is not among them".

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
The guards in the business center on Sportivnaya Square, 3V, did not hear about Leomed IT LLC
Author's photo

Leogaming LLC is registered a block away, at 4V Rognidinskaya St., office 10. We found a post box on the first floor of the building, saying office 10 belongs to a different company, Pantheon Grand LLC. However, there was no plate on the old shabby doors, except for the "10" number. We knocked loudly on the door, but no one opened it. There was silence behind the door.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
We did not find anyone in the office of Leogaming on Rognidinskaya Street.
Author's photo

Another company, LBC2019 LLC, is registered in one of the apartments of the residential building on Lyatoshinskogo street, 14 A. However, on the threshold of the "office", we were met by Galina Nikolaevna, the owner of the apartment, in her bathrobe: "I am not aware that I have any company in my apartment. What did you say its name was? LBC2019? This is the first time I've heard of it”.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
The office of LBC2019 turned out to be an ordinary apartment.
Author’s photo

The same situation is at the address where Leo Partners LLC is registered. There is an elite residential complex at 47, Zvierinetskaia Street. The office manager here has never heard of Leo Partners.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Our attempts to find the office of Leo Partners LLC at the place of registration failed
Author’s photo

"Registration services are often provided by law firms that register enterprises at their own address," explains Alexander Khmelevsky. "This practice took shape back in the 1990s. There are addresses where hundreds of companies are registered. There are no restrictions for that according to the legislation. That's why a company can be registered under any address".

But for law enforcers who investigate financial crimes, real offices are not needed. They seize virtual bank accounts, from which money is transferred to offshores and the Russian Federation. But why is the gray gambling business still thriving?

Crime and Punishment

The law enforcement agencies could not but notice the Illegal activity with a daily turnover of millions of dollars. Investigators from the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), and the State Fiscal Service are trying to bring the offenders to justice.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, Alena Shevtsova's companies are involved in a scheme "to launder the proceeds of crime and transfer dirty money abroad to the accounts of offshore companies".

Criminal cases involving Eugeny Shevtsov, Alena Degryk Shevtsova, Viktor Kapustin, Vadim Gordiyevsky, and their companies

CC number Criminal Code articles involved Defendants in the case Investigator Progress*
32013110000000298 Art. 369 Evgeny Shevtsov, Alena Degrik SFS of Kyiv Under investigation
32017100000000066 Part 2, Art. 205, Part 4, Art. 190, Part 1, Part 3 Art. 212 FC Avistar LLC SFS of Kyiv Unknown
42017000000002925 Part 3 Art. 209, Part 2 Art. 205 Leo Partners LLC, Leogaming LLC,
FC Leogaming Pay LLC,
FC Business Retail Group LLC
SSU Completed
42018101060000202 Part 4 Art.190, Part 1 Art. 361 ООО «Финансовая Компания «Альта Капитал» CID NPU Under investigation
42019000000000526 Art.171, 182, 368-2, 255, 364, and 387 Eugeny Shevtsov Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office Closed
62020000000000260 Part 3 Art. 265  Eugeny Shevtsov SBI Under investigation
42017000000001932 Part 2 Art. 361, Part 2 Art. 361-1, Part 2 Art. 200, Part 5 Art. 185, Part 3 Art. 190, Part 4 Art. 190, Part 1 Art. 203-2, Part 3 Art. 209, Part 2 Art. 364, Part 2 Art. 212, Part 3 Art. 212, Part 2 Art. 205, Part 1 Art. 209-1 Terra premium group LLC (founder Eugeny Shevtsov) SBI Under investigation

* According to law enforcement agencies and extracts from the Uniform State Register of Court Cases

The SBI investigators have collected evidence of crimes committed by bookmaker's offices under the brands 1xbet, Leon, Favorit from 2011 to 2018. According to their findings, the companies Business Retail Group LLC and Terra Premium Group LLC, the owner of which is deputy head of the Main Investigation Department of the National Police Evgeny Shevtsov were involved in the illegal transfer of funds abroad.

Alena Degrik (Shevtsova) and Evgeny Shevtsov are spouses. And дuntil recently,  they worked together in the company FC Leogaming Pay LLC, the wife as director, her husband as deputy.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Alena (Degrik) Shevtsova and Eugeny Shevtsov. Photo by ukranews

The OJSC Ibox Bank and its bank, which own Ibox self-service terminals, are involved in the criminal proceedings. It is symptomatic that the director of the treasury and financial operations department of this bank is Svetlana Garmash, who used to work in Alena Shevtsova's companies Leo Partners LLC and Leogaming LLC.

One way or another, several criminal proceedings have already been closed, some are still under investigation, and some are on their way to court.

According to the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine, each year fewer and fewer people are convicted of being in the gambling business. In 2018, courts handed down verdicts in only 30 such criminal proceedings, and just 16 in 2019.

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля ком’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Excerpt from the response of the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine to the information request about the prosecution of persons who were illegally engaged in the gambling business

But this statistic does not look odd, considering that even a former investigator of the Financial Investigation Department of the State Tax Inspectorate does not hesitate to receive money from Leo Partners LLC, a defendant in criminal proceedings on money laundering.

Illegal ban

At the time of publication Alena Degrik Shevtsova did not provide any comments on the activities of her companies and the reasons why, for example, Leo Partners LLC was involved in several criminal proceedings.

But she did send a letter in which she banned "Any collection, storage, use and dissemination of information about her personal life, professional or public activities," except for the information based on official documents. She also forbade the publication of any images or recordings of her..

Робота на РФ, офшори та «оптова торгівля комп’ютерами»: як працюють онлайн-казино в Україні
Excerpt from Alena Shevtsova’s letter to journalist Liubov Velychko


"Alena Shevtsova's written demand to prohibit collecting, storing, using and disseminating information about her, according to part 1 of Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, is illegal since the prohibition to cover certain topics and show certain persons is an obstacle to journalistic activity", said Oksana Maksymeniuk, media lawyer of the Institute of Regional Press Development NGO, when she analyzed Alena Shevtsova's letter to journalist Liubov Velychko.

According to Oksana Maksymeniuk, the lawfulness of collecting, processing, and disseminating information in the public interest is among the guaranteed rights of a journalist: "Part 1 of Article 25 of the Law of Ukraine On Information and other laws guarantees journalists the right to make written, audio and video recordings when fulfilling their professional duties, with the necessary technical means, except for cases provided for by law.

That is why we publish information about Alena Shevtsova in this article, but we are ready to give her the opportunity to speak even after the publication.

Stay tuned for business and economy news on our Mind.Live and Mind.UA Telegram channels, as well as Viber Chat