The family of Dmitry Khavchenko, a former fighter of the self-proclaimed DNR with the call sign “Sailor”, became the owner of the Russian-speaking cryptobirge Wex – the successor of the BTC-e, through which at least 4 billion dollars were laundered, according to the US authorities.
In October 2015, the first congress of the uniоn of Donbass Volunteers was held at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. Chairs for the delegates – several hundred former fighters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) – were placed in the central hall of the museum, on the walls of which are carved the names of the heroes of the Soviet uniоn.
In the center of the presidium sat ex-prime minister of the NPT Alexander Boroday. To his left, in a black sweater and with an orange “volunteer cross” on his chest, is located the 52-year-old Dmitry Khavchenko – a former Kiev entrepreneur who fought in the Donbass under the call sign “Seaman”.
After being wounded, “Sailor” moved to Russia, headed the branch of the uniоn “Donbass Volunteers” in the annexed Crimea. And now his family has become the owner of a scandalous exchange for buying and selling Wex cryptocurrency.
At the end of November 2018, the Singapore Exchange company World Exchange Services, the official operator of the Wex exchange, changed ownership. The new owner was Muscovite Daria Khavchenko – 29-year-old daughter “Sailor”.
           Khavchenko originally planned to write down the stock exchange himself. However, according to him, something did not suit the employees of the Singapore business registry in his past – perhaps participation in an armed conflict in the Donbas.
True, the trading platform itself, whose daily turnover was 80 million dollars a year ago, does not work, and dozens of users wrote statements to the police with a complaint of possible fraud. A similar, albeit slightly more dramatic, fate befell the predecessor of Wex, the BTC-e cryptobirth.
FBI, Malofeyev and the runaway admin
Exchange BTC-e.com was the largest Russian-language platform for the sale and purchase of cryptocurrency. Bitcoins alone in six years have been sold for at least $ 4 billion, according to American law enforcement agencies.
However, the real names of the BTC-e beneficiaries were securely hidden behind a network of offshore companies and nominees (the so-called “drops”). At the end of July 2017, the US authorities uncovered the name of one of those who might have been involved in a crypto-exchange: on the beach in Greece, at the request of the US Justice Department, Russian Alexander Vinnik was arrested.
Since then, Winnick has been in a Greek prison, and Russia, the United States and France have been fighting for his extradition in the courts.
In the indictment of the Northern District of California, Vinnik was named one of the leaders of BTC-e, through which various people allegedly laundered money – from hackers and drug dealers to corrupt officials.
Vinnik only served as finance director.
Whoever he really is, but after the arrest of Vinnik, the stock exchange stopped working. Two months after his arrest, Wex was opened, which became the successor of BTC-e: all users of the collapsed BTC-e could enter the new site under their old logins and return their bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
Wex could be run by one of the BTC-e founders under the admin nickname, some Alexey from Khabarovsk could be hiding behind him.
He was assisted by a 31-year-old Minsk-born Dmitry Vasilyev, who was a major client of BTC-e on the eve of the collapse, selling and buying cryptocurrencies for the benefit of wealthy Chinese clients. The official legal entity of the new exchange, Singapore’s World Exchange Services, was recorded on it.
Wex quickly gained momentum: at the peak, at the end of 2017, it was one of the twenty most popular cryptobirds in the world, with a daily turnover of 80 million dollars.
In early July, Vasilyev and Khavchenko officially announced that they were negotiating the sale of the exchange.
Entrepreneur Konstantin Malofeev, whose media name is often associated with the annexation of the Crimea and the beginning of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014, may be behind “Moryachky”. Former PM of the DPR, Boroday, before the events in the Donbass, worked as a consultant for Malofeyev.
The representative of Malofeeva said that the businessman is not connected with either Wex or Moryachk. Khavchenko also denies any connection with a famous businessman.
However, in summer, the sale of the exchange never took place. After that, Wex went to a sharp peak: the exchange of cryptocurrency for traditional money (dollars, rubles) was completely closed, it was possible to withdraw your money from the exchange only with a loss of 90%.
Frozen cryptocurrency then disappeared from the stock exchange’s wallets – according to the estimates of the initiative group of Wex clients, for several months cryptocurrency was withdrawn from them for more than $ 400 million.
The “Sailor” could have a corporate conflict with the administrator Alexey from Khabarovsk, who controls access to the exchange’s wallets. The latter was supposedly ready, like Vasiliev, to cede his share in the stock exchange, but then he changed his mind.
Now there are no trades on the stock exchange, she moves from domain to domain. “It seems to me that Wex is no longer possible to reanimate as a trading platform,” said Ivan Petukhovsky, co-founder of EXMO, another major cryptobirth with Russian roots. “In the view of any professional investor, this asset has a negative capitalization. “.
Why is “Sailor” a broken stock exchange, which even the most loyal customers in the Telegram chats are called “scam” (he is an English scam – “fraud”)?
Wex and DNR
Despite the catastrophic situation of the exchange, Khavchenko says he intends to restart Wex.
“The main task now is to return the missing cryptoactive assets. For this, a whole team of lawyers and collectors will work.” Khavchenko, however, does not exclude that he will apply to law enforcement agencies.
He is not yet ready to name the specific dates when the bidding should resume. Information that the cryptoactives disappeared after the exchange administrator’s flight, Khavchenko left without comment.
“According to my idea, Wex will become a platform for financial support of the unrecognized republics [DNR and LNR, Transdniestria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia]. Our goal is to fight against the domination of the dollar,” he explained why he bought the stock exchange. The head office of cryptobirds will be located in the Crimea, Khavchenko promised.
Cryptocurrencies are a truly alternative tool for the shadow financing of such projects as the DPR, Ilya Shumanov, deputy director of Transparency International – Russia, said. In the 20th century, precious metals were used for similar purposes: it is reliably known that the Comintern used unidentifiable jewelry and gold to finance the organization’s cells in Europe, said Shumanov.
Khavchenko does not hide: Wex’s purchase has a second goal, to which you can move, without waiting for the exchange to restart. This is a fight for “millions of BTC-e.”
“Treasures of Winnick”
 Wealth has been accumulated from two sources.
First, this is the profit of BTC-e administrators from the work of the site: receiving a percentage of each transaction, the creators of the site at the peak could earn up to a quarter of a million dollars daily.
Secondly, this is the money that users transferred to their accounts on the exchange for the further purchase of cryptocurrencies. But did not have time to spend them after the collapse of the exchange.
In the adventure novel, the heroes never know exactly how much gold is stored in the treasured chest. The valuations of BTC-e assets also differ in the same way.
A source close to Vinnik said it could be about $ 500 million. RBC previously wrote about 200-400 million dollars.
For monetary transactions, the exchange at various times used at least 15 offshore companies in various jurisdictions, from Cyprus and the Seychelles to Belize and the British Virgin Islands. Bank accounts were scattered around the world: for example, some of the users’ money was credited to the National Investment Bank of Mongolia, it follows from the payment documents of one of the users.
However, millions of dollars scattered around the world are unclaimed. After all, everyone denies participation in the work of the exchange, including Vinnik: the Russian only admits that he “advised BTC-e”.
That is, the money is actually a draw. And there are a lot of them. And those who can try to get them are called “treasure hunters of Vinnik”.
Vinnik’s lawyer, Timofey Musatov, claimed that “different individuals” were released on his client in a Greek prison, who promised Vinnik patronage in exchange for “close cooperation on all issues,” including money. However, the lawyer did not disclose the details.
Treasure seekers
The main claimants to the “Vinnik treasures” part are the American authorities. At the end of July 2017, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Bureau of the US Treasury decided to fine the exchange for $ 110 million – and Vinnik personally for another $ 12 million for systematically violating anti-money laundering laws. The rationale states: although the exchange worked throughout the world, it was used by American citizens.
The group that is looking for money to pay the fine includes Tigran Gambaryan, a special agent of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Internal Revenue Service, also under the jurisdiction of the US Treasury.
The special agent himself did not deny that he was investigating the stock exchange, but declined to comment.
The fight for the “treasures of Vinnik” is also led by the Russian Sergey Mayzus living in the Czech Republic and the owner of the financial company Mayzus Financial Services (MFS).
Usually, when making a bank transfer, the sender has access to basic information about the recipient – for example, his account number. To preserve anonymity, the creators of the exchange used an intermediary – MFS. Specifically, the details of his company were reflected in the documents when replenishing an account on the exchange through a bank account.
After the collapse of BTC-e, Maisus filed lawsuits against Vinnik in several countries around the world where companies associated with the stock exchange were registered: he claims that the scandal with the stock exchange caused damage to his business and business reputation. For example, in a statement of claim to a Cyprus court, the reputational damage was estimated at 1.4 billion euros.
In case of a victory in one of the courts, Mayzus will be able to foreclose on BTC-e-owned assets, believes the partner of EMPP Law Office, Mergen Doraev. Mayzus himself explains the decision to file a claim by the fact that as a result of the BTC-e scandal, his business was destroyed, and the partners perceive him as a “leper” because of cooperation with the FBI-targeted exchange.
The competition for the Americans and Maisus will be “Sailor”. After all, the Wex, which he bought, can be considered as the assignee of the collapsed BTC-e. And to the exchange Wex already filed lawsuits from victims of the actions of BTC-e. According to Khavchenko, two clients of a cryptobirthy through the court are demanding the return of funds that are stuck after the arrest of Vinnik.
Overtake the Americans
The main condition for success in the struggle for the “treasures of Vinnyk” is the absence of an arrest imposed on specific assets of BTC-e, according to Doraev from the law firm EMPP. This is possible if the Americans either have not yet found specific accounts, or have not yet managed to achieve arrest, given the complexity and duration of the procedure, he explained.
However, there is a risk that after filing a lawsuit, US intelligence agencies will receive information about the assets and also try to arrest them. “In this case, the question arises about who will have time before,” – said the expert.
However, all this does not scare “Sailor”: to the question of whether Khavchenko will join in the fight for the “treasures of Vinnyk”, the former DPR fighter answered affirmatively.

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26.04.2019, 15:35
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