The National Bank of Ukraine has revealed a multi-million dollar system of collecting payments for illegal gambling and betting through the “Leo” payment system



The National Bank of Ukraine conducted an audit of the financial company FC Leogaming Pay LLC for 2019 and 2020, which owns the mark of the international payment system Leo, a non-bank financial institution authorized by the National Bank of Ukraine to transfer money currency funds without opening an account. According to the regulator, the company does not provide the NBU with reliable information on all financial transactions.

According to the results of the audit, in May-December 2020 alone, participants in the international payment system “Leo” made financial transfers in the amount of more than 462 million UAH for the service “tournaments of sports and e-sports poker ”. The bulk of these funds (56.6%) went to the accounts of Digispace LLC (on behalf of the illegal online casino brand Cosmolot at the time of inspection) and Redsin LLC (on behalf of the brand of illegal online casino 1xbet).

In addition, the regulator detected a coding error: more than 90% of financial transactions using Visa and Mastercard initiated by payment card holders on the resources of LLC FC “LEOGAMING PAY” are assigned to the category code high risk merchant 7994 – Video games, which is used to legalize illegal gambling money.

According to the State Register of Legal Entities, Digispace LLC and Redsin LLC have never hosted sports poker and eSports tournaments. Instead, they entered a different company profile in their registration documents – “computer wholesaling”.

Which companies have received funding for the “Sports and Esports Poker Tournament” as part of the Leo Payments System?

Service provider Amount of funds received, million UAH * % of total fund amount
SARL “Digispace” 254.2 55
Whitehall LLC 65.7 14.2
Melbron SARL 80.6 10.4
Vimes SARL 26.9 5.8
Celios SARL 26.6 5.7
Redsin SARL 7.4 1.6
Neuron Gold LLC 0.0495 0.0001
Clarity Trade LLC 0.3441 0.0007

* for the period from May 14, 2020 to December 10, 2020

However, according to the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, in accordance with the rules of sports competitions in the sport of “sports poker”, online tournaments are not offered at all. And according to the Unified Plan of Physical Culture and Sports Activities of Ukraine for 2020, in the field of “sports poker”, the poker tournaments were held only offline from January 26 to February 3.

At the same time, payments for the purpose of “sports and esports poker tournament” have been received via FC Leogaming Pay throughout 2020.

The funds transfer was carried out by six acquiring banks, which should control the prevention of the erroneous coding system (a separate type of fraud in the bank acquisition network, which consists of substituting the object of payment) during financial transactions. .

According to the NBU, 89% of financial transactions for the transfer of funds carried out by FC FC “Leogaming Pay” from Visa and Mastercard cards were carried out through the acquiring bank “Concord Bank”.

Acquisition of banks which did not find any breach by FC Leogaming Pay LLC during financial transactions on transfer of funds using Visa and Mastercard

Acquire a bank Amount of transactions, UAH * % of total transaction amount
Concorde 695736125 89.84
Oschadbank 55176141 7.12
Private 11984014 1.54
Ibox 11192845 1.44
Taxombank 310605 0.06
Total 774399732 100

* for the period from December 1, 2019 to December 10, 2020

The owner of FC Leogaming Pay LLC is Alyona Shevtsova, who is the wife of the deputy head of the main investigation department of the national police Yevhen Shevtsov. According to the SBU, Alyona Shevtsova’s companies are involved in a scheme to “launder the proceeds of crime and transfer dirty money abroad to the accounts of offshore companies”. Criminal cases involving the Shevtsov companies are still being investigated by Ukrainian law enforcement.

They also work with companies in the European Union through Georgian Max Express LTD (also controlled by Shevtsova, a non-bank financial institution in Georgia, licensed by the National Bank of Georgia as a payment service provider No.0078-2904 as of August 3, 2018)

The company provides money transfer services for foreign and local customers. His account is opened in two EMIs (Electronic Money Institutions), one of them is Paysend PLC – an approved electronic money institution registered with the UK FCA.

The Leo payment system treats payments in favor of illegal betting and gaming as money transfers to individuals through Max express LTD. Additionally, Max Express uses a payment services agreement to send money to the end recipients: casinos and betting projects.

Illegal business or money laundering programs in Ukraine or any other country could not exist in a vacuum. This requires circular blindness, or a conspiracy of all actors in the chain: payment systems, banks, regulators and law enforcement who are interested in and involved in the development of illegal gambling.

Ukraine continues to dominate the ranks of corrupt countries and, in addition, an investigative journalist has been the subject of a scandal fraught with threats and massive prosecution. The author also has supporting documents that such information attacks are organized by the beneficiary of FC Leogaming Pay, LLC and co-owner of IBOX Bank Alena Shevtsova and her husband.


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