On 12 and 13 April 2016 the headlines of the Kiev media were full of news that the representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine visited the central office of the company «Lucky Labs» and conducted a thorough search there
The company’s directorate said, in turn, about the unauthorized character of this search, demanding to compensate for the forfeit – the result of the law enforcement officers’ actions, because of which, according to a statement by representatives of «Lucky Labs», the company incurred losses of 12 million dollars. However, the Security Service’s of Ukraine visit was justified. And now we will find out why.
«Lucky Labs» positions itself as the outsourcing IT-company that produces a variety of soft. But recently it became clear that in addition to software development, the company also «generates luck»: «Lucky Labs» produced software for casino games, and simply copied hundreds of well-known games by world producers («Playtech», «Novomatic», «NetEnt»). Obviously there is a duplication of such well-known games as «Book of Ra», «Lucky Lady’s Charm», «Dolphin’s Pearl», «Ironman», «Hulk», «Gonzo’s Quest», «Starburst» and many others. In copied games, in addition to pirated images (visual characteristics) – the special mathematics: the percentage of players winning (RTP) is much lower than licensed ones. In addition, it seems no coincidence that the heyday of the company is 2007 year – the time of the official offline casino’s prohibition. To the «Lucky Labs» were indicted concrete charges, supported by evidence. This makes the situation more difficult. In addition to the organization of online-casinos in Ukraine and Russia, where it is prohibited (in Russia – since 2007, in Ukraine – since 2011), the company is also accused of financing terrorist activities in the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics. The operation of casinos where it is illegal and expressly prohibited by law makes it impossible to pay taxes related to this activity. This is the third charge put forward by «Lucky Labs», namely: the use of offshore models to conceal financial profit. Thus, the search conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine in the company’s office had good reasons. On 18April 2016, law enforcement officers seized some of the company’s equipment – until the circumstances became clear, which continues to this day.
The extent of «Lucky Labs’» activities is not limited to the production of gambling software (according to commercial director Kirill Sygydа)
But the company also provides full service to all areas related to the functioning of virtual online gambling, communication with customers, the development of partnership programs and the creation of subsidiaries. At the same time, «Lucky Labs’» holders are well aware of the presence of gaps in Ukrainian legislation, which, on the one hand, prohibits the implementation of the casino, but doesn’t say anything about the development of software for games, and on the other hand, regulatory acts are silent about sanctions for gamblers on a commercial basis, suggesting only penalties for gambling owners.
The «Lucky Labs’» founders are Russian businessmen who recently received a residence permit in Ukraine – Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev
It is signally that their photos cannot be found on the network, and in general information about these individuals is rather murky. In Russia, control over the sphere of gambling (gaming) business, where rates are made by real money, is more severe than in Ukraine, where although the prohibition is in effect, the control is weaker, and conditions are more conducive to the growth of shadowy rhizome of such organizations. The well-known tradition of « cronyism» in tandem with corruption schemes also contributes its share: like they say, it is always possible to agree if there is a desire. In Russia, this is a little stricter: the «instigators» of «Lucky Labs» had a good chance to go to jail for a long time and such cards are stacked against for any person. This was the decisive factor in Gilfanov’s and Tokarev’s decision that the business should be transported from Moscow to Kiev. What they did safely did. The native of the Perm Region Rustam Gilfanov is 33 years old, and a Moscow native Sergei Tokarev is also 33. Both are former citizens of the Russian Federation, IT-specialists. «Lucky Labs», in turn, was created precisely as a company that provides a variety of information services. The reaction to the events is mixed: some people praise the Security Service of Ukraine for not turning a blind eye to the illegal activities of organizations like «Lucky Labs», while others consider the company to be the first-rate supplier of software with strong reputation and positive customer feedback.
The representatives of security agencies themselves have not provided a full picture of the investigation’s progress at the moment, arguing such legal privilege for the investigation’s secrecy
It is known only that the investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine opened criminal proceedings (Criminal Code of Ukraine: Part 1. Article 203-2 and also Part 2. Article 258-5). Until now, searches are conducted and the accounts of «Lucky Labs» and partner organizations are checked. By the way, the existence of such organizations is not a standard strategy for outsourcing companies, which also raises suspicions about the activities of «Lucky Labs». The parties that support and justify the company emphasize that the IT-market in Ukraine has recently taken a leading position, rapidly developing and playing the role of the Ukrainian business’ claim to fame. For example, data from the «Brain Basket Foundation» say that the volume of the IT-sector for 2015 year has developed a turnover of almost two and a half billion dollars. This exceeds the Ukraine’s GDP by 3%. The annual growth rate of the information technology sector is 30–35%. Therefore, according to many, «the generation of luck» is some excuse, an excuse for «put-down» on the profitable IT-sphere, which is in private hands.