The director of the Crypto Investment Fund was sentenced to 3 years for the program

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Lilian Nurieva, former network director at the Russian crypto investment fund Finiko, was sentenced to three years for defrauding private investors and participating in an organized criminal group.

The $55 million pyramid scheme is considered the second largest financial fraud in Russia’s post-Soviet history by the Federal Foundation for the Protection of Investors’ and Shareholders’ Rights.

Crypto investment fund changes the Ponzi scheme

In 2021, Russian authorities began investigating the “crypto investment fund” Finiko for fraud and organized crime. The investigation concluded that the fund was a pyramid scheme that took millions of investors’ money.

From 2018 to 2021, Finiko served as a pyramid scheme presented to investors as a crypto fund. The main organizer and beneficiary of the fraud, Kirill Doronin, traveled around the country offering master classes, attracting thousands of clients.

Doronin and his accomplices created a criminal community that systematically embezzled citizens’ money. The criminals approached potential customers, claiming to have developed a “unique automatic profit generation system” that “guarantees” huge returns on cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

Users would initially receive dividends and could withdraw their money in BTC. However, things started turning left for investors after it began devaluing the Finiko crypto token in 2021. Within a month, the company’s offices were suddenly closed and its website was shut down, leaving investors empty-handed.

Donorin assured investors that the crypto fund was experiencing technical failures, but it was later determined that his associates had already fled the country with investors’ money.

According to investigationmany clients took out loans or sold their homes to invest in the imitation fund. It turned out that the investment fund operated on the principle of a financial pyramid, in which senior clients received payments from the funds of fresh investors.

At the time, the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MDV) estimated that the company had defrauded more than 10,000 people and stolen more than 5 billion rubles, or about $55 million.

Finiko’s first chief executive sentenced

Lilia Nurieva, one of the directors of Finiko, was found guilty of defrauding investors by the Vakhitovsky District Court in Kazan. Nurieva, a key participant in the crypto scheme, was given a “lenient” sentence for cooperating with prosecutors.

The former director was originally sentenced to four and a half years in prison for committing fraud and participating in an organized criminal group. However, Nurieva will only spend three years in prison because her period of pre-trial detention will be included in her sentence.

According to local reports, prosecutors demanded six and a half years in prison for the Russian executive, but the former head of Networks managed to shorten this time thanks to a pre-trial settlement. Thanks to this agreement, Nurieva avoided a sentence of up to ten years in prison.

Moreover, the director fully admitted the charges and cooperated with the investigation, which made it easier for him to be tried separately from the other defendants. Her lawyer Maria Belousova stated that the prosecutor’s accusations against her client were “correct”. She also noted that Nurieva was the only one of the defendants who invested her money in this program.

Per Belousova, former director of Finiko, invested 40 million rubles in an investment fund before becoming part of the organization:

When she joined the criminal association, there were illusions that it was not criminal and illegal. Then, while communicating with senior management, clarity came.

The remaining ten defendants, including Doronin, have not yet been brought to trial. On April 27, the General Prosecutor’s Office approved their indictment and forwarded it to the Wachitowski court. The defendants are also accused of organizing a criminal association and committing large-scale fraud by an organized group.

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