Investigation: Ukrainian top official in Ministry of Internal Affairs is suspected of money laundering in the USA
A top government official Yevheniy Shevtsov from Ukraine and his wife are making money by cashing out corrupt money and gambling online, legitimizing earnings in the USA. The journalist who described the scheme has been targeted and threatened.
Ukraine is still one of the most problematic and useless areas of efforts for the US government.
Financial and institutional resources are disappearing in the fires of Ukrainian corruption that can be observed even among most top officials.
Attempts to understand the problem and name the beneficiaries of corruption schemes in Ukraine are still dangerous and punishable.
However, the worst part here is not corruption in general. The worst part is how unaccounted illegally obtained funds can be used.
Buying luxurious yachts and wine châteaux for "black" money is not the worst option. It is much worse if this money is spent on destructive things for the country.
Law enforcement official and his personal interest
In Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its strike unit, the National Police, have special status. In addition to the direct function of law enforcement, the super-broad powers of this department allow the use of power for corrupt commercial purposes.
Our colleague, Ukrainian investigative journalist Lyubov Velichko, became the target of a massive threat and attempts to discredit her after she determined the amount of corruption generated in Ukraine in only this one area, far from the largest segment of the economy, but from a top official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Ms. Velichko shared the details of this case and has become one of the most open cases of harassment of a journalist in Ukraine.
Yevheniy Shevtsov, deputy head of the National Police's General Department of Investigations, is called one of the main controllers of the gambling business in Ukraine and the supervisor of the entire underground online-casino market.
It is difficult to find official information on Mr. Shevtsov’s activities on the Internet. However, according to blogger Alexei Golobutsky, the National Police, at the suggestion of Shevtsov, approaches the audit of illegal gambling establishments very selectively, arresting the property of only intractable entrepreneurs.
Being under the influence of Mr. Shevtsov, the National Police are very selective of illegal gambling establishments’ which audit and arrest only the most intractable entrepreneurs’ property.
“Competitors who are smart enough can immediately after the raid come to the same supervisor of the criminal proceedings and try to agree to return part of the money, agree on the cancelling raid or do it formally. After that, businessmen return to regular work, no arrests and or a trial, "the blogger writes. Mr. Shevtsov’s core gambling and financial assets are focused on Leo Gaming Company.
“His status allows him to put pressure on competitors — these are done several times a month by different people. The work of the police is very effective ... but in two years and dozens of raids, there are only a few decisions on the seizure of property,” Golobutsky added.
The fact that law enforcement officers under the leadership of the deputy head of the Main Investigation Department of the National Police of Ukraine Yevgeny Shevtsov systematically attacks IT companies and paralyze the business of possible competitors of Shevtsov's wife, Elena Degrik (Shevtsova), reported in the "Stop corruption'' journalistic investigation TV Show on Ukrainian Channel 5 (September, 2019).
“The National Police press office reports from time to time on the successful raids of on online, casinos, posting pictures of the withdrawn money and equipment. However, there are no such brilliant reports about the closure of such casinos or arrest of the accused, "the authors of the investigation said. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=external&v=777028676050497
The authors of the "Stop corruption'' TV show said that Yevheniy Shevtsov was not only on many high-profile raids on IT companies in recent years, but also put pressure on journalists. Even the US Embassy in Ukraine has drawn attention to this situation.
Videos of the Shevtsov family cars, real estate and restaurants have been posted on social media. The author of the video, Denis Ivanov, claims that his family was persecuted and his father was raided because of this video. The authors of publications about Shevtsov are constantly faced with lawsuits. One of the last Shevtsov’s victims of stalking for now was the lawyer of Denis Ivanov, Masi Nayem, in September 2019, Shevtsov filed a lawsuit against him for slander. His wife also filed a similar claim.
The investigator journalist, Lyubov Velichko, collected all this disparate information into a single case. After the publication of the article, the author and the publisher were subjected to a massive attack and campaign to discredit.
The activities of Yevheniy Shevtsov and his wife could be considered as a peculiar traditional type of Ukrainian business, so due to the triviality of the applied scheme, it would not be worth close attention, except for one thing. The huge profits of illegal casinos require laundering. And from that moment on, Mr. Shevtsov case becomes unique, since the money laundering takes place in the United States.
Shevtsov family members own several companies that help "launder" profits from Crime gambling and betting. These companies are notable for the fact that their founders include American citizens, whose presence allows legitimizing the withdrawal of money to the United States in the status of "personal funds".
The main persons involved and participants in the scheme:
Yuri Kaplun, founder of LeoGaming Pay FC. According to the registries, the company is registered in the USA, 17921, Lei Azur Wei, Boca Raton, Florida, 33496.
Victor Kapustin, the head of state-owned Ukreksimbank in 2005-2010.
Optimum Realty LLC, works with real estate. This company is the founder of the financial counterparty of LeoGaming, Altruist Company.
Interset LLC. The founder is Alex Marder, registered at 445 East North Water Street, apt 210 Chicago and also Yuri Kaplun mentioned above.
The head of the company is Alexey Tikhonovsky, registered in Crimea, 9644, Chernomorsky district, Gromove village, Shkolnaya str., 36 A.
The counterparty from the Ukrainian side is Leo Partners LLC. According to Classifier of types of economic activity* this company is registered as one for offshore operations. Registration address: Cyprus, VA Herodi Atticu Street, 2332, Lakatamia, Nicosia. The head of Leo Partners LLC is Alena Shevtsova.
* Classifier of types of economic activity is a Ukrainian state statistical reference book, the main purpose of which is to define and code the main and secondary types of economic activities of legal entities in Ukraine
We have indicated here a small part of the organizations through which funds are withdrawn for further shipment to the USA and Cyprus. Officially for the American authorities, the money passes as private funds. To make it possible, some of the founders are US citizens with an indication of the percentage of the business, which is easy to capitalize for transfer abroad.
"Abroad" also includes the withdrawal of funds to the territories not controlled by Ukraine, occupied by the Russian Federation, NGCA (Non-Government Controlled Areas of Donetsk and Luhansk). Such a transaction is impossible without the assistance of the local administration and the payment of cash bonuses to its representatives. These funds were most likely aimed at strengthening terrorist regimes.
Investigators from the ACAB UA FaceBook group found out that the LeoGaming Pay FC, owned by Elena Degrik (Shevtsova), the wife of Yevheniy Shevtsov, the Deputy Head of the Main Investigation Department, was involved in financial transactions with Russia (aggressor towards Ukraine) and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic.
In the governmental registers there is a court decision, that includes the criminal proceedings of the Security Service of Ukraine No. 22017000000000064 dated February 20, 2017. According to the case file, Elena Degrik (Shevtsova)’s company Leo-Partners took part in the transfer of Webmoney title units to the NGCA territory.
Later, the title units were converted into foreign currency and converted into cash in order to finance and materially support the activities of active members of these terrorist organizations, as well as the withdrawal of funds abroad, ”the investigators say,” the court's decision says.
The Security Service of Ukraine blocked financial transactions with temporarily occupied territories:
According to the official information from the LeoGaming company website, there are 50 games available for replenishment, and many of them are Russian.
Advanced the game by the Russian publisher Tees Games is dedicated to struggle against the Nazis;
Tanks Online from Alternative Games Company that has the headquarters in Russian Perm. Russian Fishing, the developer is Russian Fishing LLC of St. Petersburg;
Mosvar, the game about conflict of native Moscow residents and newcomers. The developer is Moscow-based Destiny.Games;
Football League (virtualsoccer.ru);
In the old version of the Leogaming website you could have to top up the account of the Virtual Russia game. This game contains, in particular, the section “Crimea is ours”**.
** «Crimea is ours» or “Krymnash” is a neologism of the Russian language that arose in the spring of 2014 in the context of the socio-political discussion around the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation.
Also Elena Degrik’s LeoGaming company has foreign branches in Romania, Macedonia, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Kazakhstan. In particular, the branches in Romania and Macedonia have their own websites. Among the partners of LeoGaming are Russian payment systems: Qiwi (Elena personally was related to this one as well), Webmoney and Yandex.Money. Also from the Romanian and Macedonian LeoGaming website you can top up your account in VKontakte (Russian social network).
Mail.ru Holding is a part of the anti-Russian sanctions list adopted by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC). That means that access to the resource in Ukraine is officially prohibited. The other listed companies are also subject to NSDC sanctions, and their activities in Ukraine are illegal. It turns out that at least the Romanian and Macedonian branches work with structures banned in Ukraine. According to journalists, a participant in these transactions is the LEO payment system, owned by a resident of Ukraine Elena Degrik.
Cooperation with Russian counterparties, sanctioned by the NSDC, some of which are directly controlled by the FSB of the Russian Federation, is a violation of the law and constitutes a threat to national security.
Alena Degrik (Shevtsova) can also become a represintative of Alfa Group (Russia, Mikhail Fridman, russian oligarch, #86 in forbes world’s billionaires list) in developing Casino in Ukraine. Alfa Group Russia, according to our sources, was among the investors of the privatized Dnipro hotel, bought for 41 million dollars this year. According to the representative of buyers Aleksand Kokhanovsky, the Hotel will become a platform for cybersport games. And according to editorial sources in Ukraine, partners would also launch the biggest casino there.
The personality of Mr. Shevtsov and his wife took attention of representatives of the Ukrainian parliament. The reason of the interest was the obvious discrepancy between their image and the officially declared income.
More than 50 deputies of the Ukrainian parliament called on law enforcement officers to audit the deputy head of the main investigation department of the National Police, Yevheniy Shevtsov, as he was called one of the key figures in a large-scale international criminal scheme. The scheme where some of the top officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Bank of Ukraine, State Fiscal Service, State Security Service and other structures are involved. This is a powerful criminal group that has been engaged in illegal gambling businesses for years, money laundering and its withdrawal to offshore, Russia and NGCA. They are engaged in fraud with the register of property rights and the appropriation of real estate, using their government positions and titles.
As the Deputy from Golos politician party Aleksandra Ustinova said, this initiative is connected with the assets of the Shevtsov family. Earlier, Bigus.Info journalists found out that Yevheniy Shevtsov's wife, Elena Shevtsova-Degrik, received a non-residential premise with an area of 587 sq. m in Kiev. It happened in 2016. Previously, it belonged to businessman Alexei Kikireshko, the former president of Arsenal Kiev football club, but the property was seized due to Kikireshko's outstanding bank loans. The activity of Alexandra Ustinova, who initiated the collection signatures of her colleagues to verify this transaction, provoked Mr. Shevtsov: “Dumb sheep, monkey, wandering animals, mentally retarded scarecrow,” he wrote on Facebook, he wrote on Facebook referring to Alexandra. Later he edited the post, but there are still some screenshots with such content.
“I have one question for Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov: do you think that such a person can be the officer and work in the National Police, and even in a leading position?” Ustinova said.
In the investigator's declaration, almost all property and income belongs to the wife. So, in 2018 Shevtsov declared an income of almost 350 thousand hryvnia, and his wife - 7 million and almost 700 thousand hryvnia. All real estate and cars are also registered with his wife.