In the 2012 year, the it-business is slowly unfolding in Kyiv, the new company’s offices appear on the market of information services – it is referred to the «Lucky Labs»
The company, despite being based in a posh room and a large staff, sometimes causes suspicion: on the website the information is poor, the data about the owners are incomplete, there are contradictions in the network – the company presents itself as outsourcing firm but for real the facts show that «Lucky Labs» is engaged in the product aspect of activity, that is, it fully realizes games for the casino, as well as software in a broad sense. Since the 2015 year «Lucky Labs» has begun to attract the attention of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) makes several searches in the central Kyiv company’s office, and in the April 2016 year, however, «Lucky Labs» has been accused:
1) production of software for casino games («Lucky Labs» didn’t create unique software, but stole hundreds of well-known world producers’ games, for example, «Playtech», «Novomatic», «NetEnt»). «Lucky Labs» has been plagiarizing games such as «Book of Ra», «Lucky Lady’s Charm», «Dolphin’s Pearl», «Ironman», «Hulk», «Gonzo’s Quest», «Starburst» and many others.
2) «editing» of software for online-casinos: the copied «Lucky Labs’» games, in addition to pirated images and visual effects, have a special math: the percentage of players’ winning (RTP) was much lower than in similar licensed programs that acted as invariants for copying.
3) online-casinos’ management in the territory of Ukraine and Russia, where it is prohibited by regulatory legal acts.
It should be emphasized that Ukraine finally adopted a prohibition on stationary gambling and offline-casinos in the 2011 year when the conditions for punishment for such offenses were particularly tightened
Prior to this, for example, in the 2009 year, there were also attempts to restrict the activities of the casino. In Russia, similar laws have been in force since the 2007 year. It seems strange that «Lucky Labs» developed in the 2007 year – after the official offline-casinos’ prohibition in the Russian Federation. The founders and main shareholders of «Lucky Labs» are Russian citizens who have recently settled in Ukraine: Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov. They are the main players in the case «Lucky Labs», the process of which was launched by the Security Service last year.
«The Huffington Post», American edition, published materials demonstrating the underground side of the work of the Ukrainian it-company
Business in the information technology’s sphere over the past few years has grown enormously, and this causes fears of the authorities, because it-sphere, occupying about 30% of the economic sector, is in private hands. In addition, it is extremely difficult to control it-sphere: it is simply impossible to track all offenses in the virtual space. The Ukrainian and Russian media also are larded with the exposing articles about Tokarev and Gilfanov: it is worth recalling the materials for April and October of the 2016 year, and also in July of the 2017 year, presented in the columns of the «Liga», «Obozrevatel’», «Correspondent», «KP», «Newspaper», «Forbes», «24» etc. And the accusations are put forward not only because of the online-casinos’ creation and support. The worst thing is that money illegally (of course) gained from this kind of gambling was conducted through offshore companies, and from there they came directly to the separatist formations of the self-proclaimed republics in the East of Ukraine: Donetsk and Lugansk. In fact, this means that «Lucky Labs» indirectly «pumped» money from the pockets of gamblers (especially gaining popularity during the crisis) Ukrainians, who thus themselves helped the criminal actions of militants from the DNR and LNR. But let’s return to the American media. «Lucky Labs» surprisingly cleverly carried out such operations in Ukraine, and in Russia, the founders of the company Tokarev and Gilfanov even provided soft support for online-casinos such as «Vulcan», «Joycasino» or «CasinoX», access to which was available through the provider «Rostelecom». Nuance is that the above-mentioned resources are prohibited by Roskomnadzor. This raises the question: what connections need to be made to bypass prohibitions of this rigor’s level? The same is true in Ukraine: there are many good reasons to believe that the owners of «Lucky Labs» and their business are protected by representatives of the authorities and the political elite. After all, it’s no longer a secret that many « this world’s powerful people» don’t strain of the offshore schemes to hide their taxes. Let us recall at least the recent Panamanian scandal. And offshore «Lucky Labs» are in sight because even on the company’s website it is clearly written: the company has offices in Malta, Cyprus, Moscow, Kiev, etc. And Malta, for example, is recognized as one of the paradise offshore zones.
So, in September of the 2017 year «The Huffington Post» publishes an article entitled «Novomatic is going to buy Russian gangsters». This company also is engaged in gambling in European territory: the difference is that in many European countries, in the US, even in Georgia, offline-casinos are legal. Thus, one of the companies specializing in slots was going to buy the assets of «Playson», a firm that is also in the hands of Tokarev and Gilfanov. However, these materials, like many other compromising articles previously posted on Ukrainian Internet resources, have been removed. It is assumed that the dirt on the network was removed after Tokarev and Gilfanov paid for it. But the reference to the American publishing house’s article has remained and it can still be found on the Internet. In particular, there is mentioned another company, which is protected by Tokarev and Gilfanov. This is the company «Globo-Tech», released on the market in the 2001 year. Strangely enough, it was also connected with illegal gambling business. «Globo-Tech» became a pioneer in the shadowy virtual market of gambling services; after the offline-casino’s prohibition in Russia this sphere hasn’t disappeared but simply migrated to a more suitable space. The profits grew so rapidly that representatives of «Globo-Tech» began to speculate on how to whitewash their own reputation. This is how «Lucky Labs» was created, which is positioned the absolutely clean company that provides a services’ variety in the IT-market.
Kirill Sygyda, the current «Lucky Labs’» commercial director, doesn’t deny that the company develops software for computer games, and the same software can be used for online-casino games’ operation and also as a model for payment systems
However, he noticed that «Lucky Labs» isn’t the operator-company: that is, it creates a product on order, gives it to the customer, receives payment and it’s over. In the case of «Lucky Labs», Tokarev and Gilfanov used already legal content (for example, from «Microgaming», «NetEnt»), and management was carried out from Cyprus – the company called «Darklace.Ltd». Licenses were from the company «Curacao license of Pomadorro N.V». And, finally, all these companies were gathered together under the brand «PoshFriends». This is a typical scheme used to clean up a reputation. Today, users are still faced with intensively emerging «vulkans», that is, online gambling products created under a well-known brand. And most of this product works on software developed and provided by «Lucky Labs». To prove Tokarev’s and Gilfanov’s involvement in these anonymous resources isn’t yet possible, therefore for them this financial scheme is ideal like no other. The marketing of «vulkans» and «joycasino», with access to which, judging by the advertising on the pirate cinema’s sites, for some reason constantly causes problems, is extremely aggressive. It’s also suspicious that this kind of marketing has already been used by Gilfanov and Tokarev: all these cases seem to prove that the operations were made by the same persons. But despite this, «Lucky Labs» has stormy defenders who consider the searches and organized criminal case (including the accusation of financing terrorism – a separate article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), crushing and illuminating the shadow side of the it-business articles, like any attacks on «Lucky Labs», only by envy or the desire to sink a successfully developing company. There is also information that «Lucky Labs» is an international it-enterprise. Anyway, despite the disassembly with the SSU, «Lucky Labs» somehow still functions…