To the deal for the sale of the Wex cryptocurrency exchange to an ex-militant of the «Donetsk People's Republic» Dmitry«Sailor» Khavchenko, as well as furtherA Russian entrepreneur, owner of the «Tsargrad» group of companies, was involved in the withdrawal of funds from it. Konstantin Malofeev. The BBC found this out during its own investigation.
The news service gained access to two hoursaudio recordings of a conversation between two men about the fate of the Wex exchange. Experts identified the voices on the recording as belonging to Konstantin Malofeev and the «red admin» Wex to Alexey Bilyuchenko, a man who, along with Alexander Vinnik, was at the forefront of the founding of the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange.
The recording was allegedly made in July 2018year — the interlocutors discuss the RBC note published on July 4 about the intentions of «Sailor» buy the exchange. At the same time, the person with Malofeev’s voice demonstrates deep involvement in Wex affairs.
«There is great suspicion among all participantsthe process that you have more than you put on the exchange. The fact that you had something to do with BTC-e is obvious, and there was much more on BTC-e than there was on Wex […] You are kept afloat because I say that you are mine, and I am for I answer you».
He offers the interlocutor to close the exchange.
«In May I […] told you thatwe must work that all decisions must be made by me. I told you? Said. And you went somewhere. I haven't come for a long time. At this time, various events occur. The world does not stand still. […] I say: «I don’t need a vex, we are closing it.». It will collapse on its own, not on its own, that doesn’t concern me.”
«Closing a service, a worker that generates income?!»— the man with the voice admin’a is perplexed.«Listen, the kind of income it brings in, it would be better if it didn’t bring in»,— his interlocutor retorts.
Judging by the conversation, the role of «Sailor» in Wex affairs it is only nominal.
«We cannot introduce a single new person to the Vex now. There is already a Sailor»,— says a man with Malofeev’s voice.
During the investigation, the BBC managed to find documentary evidence of the facts mentioned on the record.
From the testimony of Alexey Bilyuchenko withincriminal case under article “fraud”, opened by the investigative committee of Novocheboksarsk at the end of 2018, lawyer Timofey Musatov, the current defender of Alexander Vinnik, brought him together with Konstantin Malofeev.
In turn, the former owner of Wex DmitryDuring interrogation, Vasiliev stated that the founders of the exchange went to Malofeev for “administrative resources.” This was indirectly confirmed by Musatov in an interview with RBC in the summer of 2018, saying that Vasiliev «was looking for the support of the powers that be» and in the end «found her».
The BBC has a copy of the document,entitled «Memorandum of Understanding» and allegedly signed by Malofeev and Bilyuchenko. Project goal — creation on the basis of Wex of a new legal cryptocurrency platform Vladex in Vladivostok «to preserve the financial and economic sovereignty of the Russian Federation».
In March 2018, the company Vladex was registered in Vladivostok, 99% of which belongs to 24-year-old Kirill Malofeev, the son of Konstantin Malofeev.
Kirill Malofeev stated that his company does not havehas nothing to do with the Vladex crypto exchange project, and he is not familiar with Alexey Bilyuchenko. When asked by a BBC correspondent why the postal address on the Vladex website coincides with the legal address of Vladex LLC, Malofeev Jr. redirected him to the press service of his father’s company.
In the audio recording there is a person with a voiceMalofeev Sr. mentions Vladex several times and says that a paper on the creation of a “white and fluffy service” has already been signed at a high government level.
«So we seemed to have a signed paper?»— asks the man with the voice admin’a.«We had a signed paper to review. And now there will be a specific paper»,— the man with Malofeev’s voice answers, adding that Vladex will have its own stand at the upcoming Eastern Economic Forum.
Indeed, within the framework of the WEF in September 2018then Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation Sergei Glazyev spoke about the Vladex project at a session on the digitalization of the economy and invited everyone to the Vladex stand to talk with the developers of the platform — Evgeniy and Anton.
According to the BBC, the last — 35 year oldAnton Nemkin, a former FSB employee and business partner of Moscow IT entrepreneur Evgeny Zhulanov, who previously, together with Malofeev, owned the mobile content provider Nikita.
The name of a certain «Anton» is constantly discussed in a recording of a conversation between two men — The admin had to give the crypto exchange user base to him in order to remain free.
«And the fact that you did not surrender to the state andfreedom, this is only because they fit in for you. In any case, they will come to you. Because in any case, you promised and didn’t deliver. And he promised Anton. I promised them there at Lubyanka. It really can be done like this — FSB to promise and not deliver?»— says a man with Malofeev’s voice.
In his testimony, Bilyuchenko said that at the meetingwith «Anton» On April 25, 2018, he invited him to give him cold wallets with assets of the Wex exchange. Admin handed them over, after which he was taken to the FSB reception on Kuznetsky Most in Moscow, where several people in civilian clothes asked him questions about Wex’s work for 40 minutes.
The next day, Bilyuchenko was again taken to the officeKonstantin Malofeeva in the «Novinsky passage». There, says the admin, «Anton» allegedly demanded to give up all the cryptocurrency stored in Wex wallets, saying that it would go to the «Russian FSB fund».
Bilyuchenko said that he agreed to transferbitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, «fearing for your life». At that time, $450 million in cryptocurrency was stored on the exchange, some of which belonged to Wex clients, says admin.
Two weeks later, during which the interlocutorsBilyuchenko probably created crypto wallets, Alexey Bilyuchenko, at the request of «Anton» transferred all cryptocurrency from the exchange balance to new wallets.
The admin’s testimony is indirectly confirmeddata from portals that track cryptocurrency transactions. According to the portals Blockchain.com and Explorer.Litecoin.net, on May 16, 30 thousand BTC and 700 thousand LTC left the well-known wallets of the exchange. At exchange rates as of mid-May 2018, they were worth approximately $350 million.
However, in mid-July, Bilyuchenko was again summoned for questioning by the FSB and demanded that the Wex user database be returned. About the same, as follows from the recording of the conversation, said the man with the voice of Malofeev.
«You still have to pass the base.It's not me, it's the state. And the fact that you didn’t surrender to the state and are free is only because they write in for you. […] If you are working for a big story that the state needs, in this case, the approach to you is completely different. […] Who knows, maybe you're promoting «Al-Qaeda», Navalny?»
After a conversation at the reception of the FSB, Bilyuchenko returned toNovosibirsk, but a few days later the FSB officers talking to him rushed to him with a search, seized all the computer equipment and external media on which information was stored on the customer base and the remaining Wex crypto assets. True, according to a source close to the investigation, they never received the keys for decryption.
Now the parties to this case are accusing each other oftheft of funds. According to Khavchenko, the exchange money allegedly remained with Bilyuchenko, since “the administrator did not provide any facts to refute this.”
At the same time, according to the Telegram channel«Cello Case», $200 million in bitcoins and ether were distributed between Konstantin Malofeev, Dmitry Vasiliev, Dmitry and Daria Khavchenko.
«Son of Konstantin Malofeev for his sharebought himself CrowCrowd multigaming, and his dad tried to pay for a seat in the State Duma — Bitcoins were used to bribe the head of the A Just Russia party, Sergei Mironov. In exchange for the capital seized from Wex investors, he must make Malofeev his deputy and provide him with a seat in the State Duma. This will give the cryptocurrency thief parliamentary immunity»,— reports the authors of the channel.
According to them, the patron of Malofeev is the ex-assistant to the president of the Russian Federation Igor Shchegolev, the current envoy to the Central Federal District.
«On behalf of the embassy, the intermediaries offerbig money for correcting investigations and not opening a big Wex case. The materials for this case were collected in the “K” department of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Dmitry Vasiliev and his accomplices from the Khavchenko family will inevitably testify against Malofeev after their arrest. This will put the informal pension of the official Shchegolev into question»,— they say.
You can read more about the fate of the missing $ 1 billion from the BTC-e exchange in a special ForkLog material.