Russian Court Jails Finiko Crypto Scam Exec for Three Years

A Finiko executive has been sentenced to three years in prison by a Russian court for her involvement in what is described as the largest crypto scam in the post-Soviet era.

According to Izvestia, Liliya Nurieva, the former head of networks at Finiko, received a four and a half year sentence from a court in Vakhitovsky, Kazan on May 17. However, the court stated that it would take into account the time she had already spent in pre-trial detention as “time served.”

Despite prosecutors’ requests for a six and a half year sentence, the judge rejected them. Nurieva, who had faced a possible 10-year imprisonment, reached a “pre-trial agreement” with prosecutors.

Nurieva’s defense attorney announced her intention to appeal the verdict. She was convicted of fraud and organized crime-related charges.

Finiko, initially presented as a crypto “investment fund” in 2018, allegedly defrauded citizens of around $1.1 billion, according to the country’s Central Bank. Much of this sum remains unrecovered.

The unraveling of the project began in 2021, leading to the flight of many Finiko figures abroad. After an international manhunt, Interpol detained co-founder Edvard Sabirov in the UAE in late 2022, while co-founder Kirill Doronin was arrested in mid-2021.

However, Nurieva is the first Finiko executive to be convicted and sentenced.

Finiko promised investors an “automated profit-generating system” with returns of “up to 30%” on investments of $1,000 or more. It also offered various lending and financial services with lucrative terms.

The company allegedly employed Ponzi scheme tactics, using funds from new investors to pay off older ones. By mid-2021, its platforms became unstable, with customers reporting delayed payments. In June of that year, payments ceased entirely, the value of its cryptocurrency plummeted, and Finiko offices nationwide abruptly closed.

During its peak, Finiko enjoyed popularity on social media, and initial estimates suggested nearly 10,000 individuals invested in its platforms.

Nurieva’s defense argued that she was unaware of Finiko’s fraudulent nature upon joining and had invested her own money in the company. It wasn’t until later interactions with senior executives that she realized the scheme’s illegitimacy.

Some Finiko investors attended the trial, with one, Lyudmila Yamshchikova from Kazan, expressing disappointment over halted payments, which she had relied on for mortgage payments and other financial obligations.


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