Tatarstan’s highest court has rejected appeals against arrest warrants issued for three co-founders of the notorious Finiko crypto pyramid. The top representatives of the Ponzi scheme, accused of large-scale fraud in Russia, are still hiding abroad, media reports reveal.
Three Finiko Ponzi Scheme Members Still Wanted
The Supreme Court of Tatarstan, a republic of the Russian Federation, has confirmed the arrest warrants issued in absentia for Zygmunt Zygmuntovich and Marat and Edward Sabirov. The three wanted men are close associates of Finiko’s founder Kirill Doronin.
Doronin, an Instagram influencer whose name has been linked to other fraudulent schemes, was arrested in July. Then in September, authorities detained the pyramid’s vice president, Ilgiz Shakirov, as well as two women, Lilia Nurieva and Dina Gabdullina, who have allegedly lured thousands of investors with promises for high returns.
Zygmuntovich and the Sabirov brothers, however, managed to leave the country and avoid detention. In Tatarstan’s highest court, they were represented by government appointed lawyers who appealed the initial decision to seek their arrests internationally.
During the proceedings, Marat Sabirov’s defense attorney, Gulnaz Nafieva, insisted her client had already been out of the country when the criminal case was initiated. Despite this argument, the court did not uphold her appeal to revoke Sabirov’s arrest warrant, Inkazan.ru reported.
According to an article published by Business Online a few days earlier, investigators believe the three fugitives have escaped to the United Arab Emirates through Belarus. However, some sources familiar with the Finiko case claim that Zygmuntovich, considered to be Doronin’s right hand, is actually hiding in Abkhazia, the Russia-backed breakaway republic of Georgia. A businessman from Tatarstan, Eric Gafarov, has been quoted as stating that the Finiko co-founders are currently in Turkey.
Meanwhile, the total of the officially registered losses to the cryptocurrency scam, one of Russia’s largest financial pyramids in recent years, has exceeded 1 billion rubles (almost $14 million). The scale of the fraud forced the federal Ministry of Interior to take over the investigation.
Besides Russian citizens, the crypto pyramid scheme attracted investors from a number of countries in the region and beyond such as Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Hungary, Austria, Germany and the U.S., with over 3,300 complaints filed so far. According to data from blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, Finiko received over $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin in less than two years before it collapsed this summer.
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