A high-ranking representative of Russia’s notorious Finiko Ponzi scheme has been arrested in Tatarstan. Ilgiz Shakirov, a businessman from Kazan, rose to the rank of vice president of the crypto pyramid which is believed to have defrauded millions of investors in the Russian Federation and surrounding regions.
Kazan Police Detain Finiko Vice President
Police in the Russian republic of Tatarstan have detained Ilgiz Shakirov, a businessman from the capital city Kazan, for his suspected involvement in the fraudulent theft of funds in the Finiko case, Realnoe Vremya reported. The local news outlet quotes undisclosed sources familiar with the investigation.
Shakirov has allegedly attracted 100,000 people to the Ponzi scheme which is one of the largest financial scams in Russia’s modern history. For his achievements, the Tatarstan native was granted the status of vice president of the cryptocurrency pyramid.
Ilgiz Shakirov. Source: Realnoe Vremya
According to a recent report by blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, Finiko received over $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin between December 2019 and August 2021. The digital money came in 800,000 separate deposits from investors lured with promises of monthly returns of up to 30%.
Chainalysis noted that while it’s unclear how many individual victims were behind those deposits and how much of the total amount was paid out to investors to keep the Ponzi scheme going, “it’s clear that Finiko represents a massive fraud perpetrated against Eastern European cryptocurrency users.”
Most of the defrauded bitcoin holders are based in the Russian Federation and neighboring Ukraine, analysis of the sending addresses shows. Finiko had been mostly targeting potential investors among Russian-speaking populations in the former Soviet space before the scheme collapsed this summer.
Police investigators are now expected to request a permanent arrest warrant for Shakirov within 48 hours, Realnoe Vremya added in its report published Wednesday. Before he was apprehended, the only other Finiko executive in custody was the pyramid’s founder, Kirill Doronin, an Instagram influencer associated with other Ponzi schemes in the past.
International arrest warrants have been issued for three of Doronin’s associates. Together with their boss, they are accused of embezzling at least 250 million rubles (almost $3.5 million) in collusion with “unidentified persons.” However, estimates of caused damages in the case continue to grow. So far, 80 individuals have been officially recognized as victims of the scam with more applications pending review.
Do you think Russian authorities will be able to detain the remaining suspects in the Finiko case? Share your expectations about the investigation in the comments section below.