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Russian ring leader allegedly behind Ukraine online gambling

Regional media in Ukraine has published more details on this week's major bust of illegal online gambling activities in 15 Kiev localities (see previous report), reporting that 12 of the 80 suspects mentioned earlier by the police have now been arrested.

The reports note that investigations have to date uncovered over 200 online casino websites associated with the case, and that it has been established that “centralised control” of the illegal activity was “carried out by Max Polyakov, a businessman from Zaporozhye who now lives in the USA,” with operational activity overseen by Polykov's Kiev partner, Maxim Krippa.

Investigators told media that they have been working on the case since 2015, when Polyakov's online dating enterprise Easy Date was allegedly found to be associated with pornographic as well as online casino activity based in Zaporozhye.

By 2017 investigators had amassed a significant amount of evidence which enabled the police to shutter over 50 pornographic studios in various regions of Ukraine, as well as blocking the activities of a number of online casino sites.

However, it was only early in 2018 that investigators were able to firmly establish the organisational structure of the criminal enterprise, and the individuals who head it, particularly the association of a company titled EvoPlay and its CIS-facing Vulkan brands of online casinos, which the company aggressively defended against would be usurpers. Max Krippa allegedly controls EvoPlay.

Sources in the Ukraine cyberpolice have told media that several companies affiliated with Max Polyakov and Maxim Krippa remain under investigation.

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