New arrests have been made by law enforcement in the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia in connection with the crypto Ponzi scheme known as Finiko. This week, Russian police detained two women whom they believe to have attracted millions of dollars to the scheme. The now collapsed crypto pyramid had lured investors from various countries in the post-Soviet region and all over the world, including the United States and Germany. The police in Tatarstan’s capital city, Kazan, arrested Lilia Nurieva and Dina Gabdullina. The former is a founder of a real estate firm that also joined the Ponzi scheme and the latter was a high-ranking executive in Finiko.
The two were taken into custody after they had been summoned earlier this week for questioning by investigators. According to the allegations against them, the two detainees enticed a number of investors to send more than $10 million to Finiko via multi-level marketing. This granted Nurieva the status of ‘10th star’ in this crypto pyramid, while Gabdullina had climbed to the position of vice president because of her efforts. Both of the women have been charged for their participation in large-scale fraud through their membership in an organized crime group that operated between December 1st, 2018, and July 28, 2021.
The apprehension of these two women comes after the police had arrested Instagram influencer Kirill Doronin, who is the founder of Finiko, who had already been associated with other Ponzi schemes previously. In addition, they had also arrested a businessman from Kazan named Ilgiz Shakirov, who had also gotten the rank of vice president after bringing in at least 100,000 investors. International arrest warrants have been issued by the Russian authorities for three associates of Doronin, are Zygmunt Zygmuntovich and Marat, and Edward Sabirov. Kazan’s Vakhitovsky court decided on Thursday to keep the two women in detection until November 7th.
This was despite the partial admission of guilt by Nurieva and the offer of assistance to law enforcement authorities in their current investigation. Likewise, 31-year-old Gabdullina’s defense had also asked for house arrest in light of her medical condition. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has revealed that the officially recognized damage of the entire Ponzi scheme was in excess of 1 billion rubles, which is nearly $14 million. The criminal investigation into this case has been taken over by the federal government because of the magnitude of the fraud.
As per initial estimates, the losses were around 250 million rubles i.e. $3.5 million as 80 victims of the scheme had been identified in the initial investigation. However, the ministry revealed that more than 3,300 applications were filed by defrauded investors. Other than Russian citizens, these include residents of Kazakhstan, the United States, Germany, Kirgizstan, Hungary, and Austria. Moreover, Chainalysis, the blockchain forensics company, had also disclosed recently that Russian-based Finiko had received more than $1.5 billion in bitcoin between the period of December 2019 and August 2021. This digital cash had come in 800,000 separate deposits before the crypto pyramid scheme collapsed this summer.