A high-ranking representative of the notorious Finiko Ponzi scheme in Russia has finally been arrested in Tatarstan. A businessman hailing from Kazan, Ilgiz Shakirov was part of the crypto pyramid and had risen to the position of vice president. It is believed that the scheme ended up defrauding millions of people in the Russian Federation as well as its surrounding areas. He was detained by the police in Tatarstan because of his suspected involvement in the Finiko case over the fraudulent theft of funds. This information was disclosed by a local news outlet that quoted unnamed sources that were familiar with the investigation.
According to allegations, Shakirov had successfully attracted around 100,000 people to the Ponzi scheme, which is now being regarded as one of the largest financial scams to have occurred in Russia’s modern history. It was because of his achievements that the Tarastan native had been promoted to the position of vice president. Chainalysis, a blockchain forensics firm, shared a report which showed that Finiko had received bitcoin that was valued at a total of $1.5 billion between December 2019 and August 2021. This digital money had come in the form of separate deposits from investors who had been lured in with the promise of making monthly returns of about 30%. A total of 800,000 deposits had been made.
Chainalysis noted that the number of individual victims involved in the deposits remains unclear. Likewise, it is also not apparent that how much of these deposits was actually paid out to investors for keeping the Ponzi scheme going. The research firm noted that the only thing that was clear was that Finiko is an example of a massive fraud that was carried out against Eastern European crypto users. Most of the bitcoin holders were defrauded in the Russian Federation as well as neighboring Ukraine, as per the sending addresses that were analyzed.
Potential investors in the former Soviet space belonging to the Russian-speaking population were the target of Finiko before the scheme collapsed. It is expected that police investigators will now ask for a permanent arrest warrant in 48 hours for Shakirov. Before his apprehension, the only person that was in custody was Finiko’s founder, Kirill Doronin. He is an Instagram influencer who has also been liked with other Ponzi schemes before as well. Three of his associates have also had international arrest warrants issued against them.
Along with their boss, these people are accused of embezzling nearly $3.5 million, which is around 250 million rubles, in collusion with others. However, the estimates regarding the damages that were caused by the pyramid continue to grow. Up until now, around 80 people have been identified as victims of the Russian scam and there are a number of other applications that are still pending review. The Ponzi scheme had fallen apart this summer and since then, an effort is being made to identify just how many people had become victims and had lost their hard-earned money in this fiasco.