Evidence-free accusations or real facts of major fraud in Ukrainian cyberspace

Who only didn’t write about this incident: publications «Novy Region», «Liga», «Correspondent», «Obozrevatel’»… The media resonance exceeded all expectations

These are searches conducted by the Security Service in the central Kiev office of the company «Lucky Labs» in the April of the 2016 year. In fact, confrontations between Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and «Lucky Labs» began before this case: the 2015 year can be considered as a point of reference. The company is accused of online-casinos’ management on Ukraine’s and Russia’s territory, where it is actually prohibited: in the Russian Federation – since the 2007 year, in Ukraine – definitively since the 2011 year. As it turned out, the company «Lucky Labs» produced software for casino’s games, simply copying hundreds of famous games of world producers – «Playtech», «Novomatic», «NetEnt». Examples of such games as «Book of Ra», «Lucky Lady’s Charm», «Dolphin’s Pearl», «Ironman», «Hulk», «Gonzo’s Quest», «Starburst» and many others. The copied games, in addition to pirated images, had special math: the percentage of players’ winnings (RTP) was clearly much lower than the licensed ones. The company blossomed, strangely enough, after the 2007 year – as we recall, the moment of the official prohibition of the offline-casino in Russia.

The information technology’s sphere and it-business are gaining more and more turnover, occupying a significant share (about 33–35%) in the sector of the state’s economy. It isn’t for nothing that these statistics are represented schematically in the form of a round «plate»: each person wants to bite off the precious piece from this menu

The facts, of course, testify against «Lucky Labs»: too many coincidences. So, the Ukrainian authorities quite specifically accuse the company of organizing an illegal chain of online-casinos, and (worse yet) – of financing the terrorist formations of Ukraine’s East: the separatists of the DNR and LNR. Business owners are Russian citizens who settled in Kiev: Sergei Tokarev and Rustam Gilfanov. Natives of Perm and Moscow, they were seen back in Russia as holders of a business connected with the gambling’s world. Skillful programmers, Tokarev and Gilfanov worked on the development of software not only for services that provide online gambling, but also for virtual platforms of payment systems. In any case, these names were often mentioned alongside the name «Yandexdengi» or «Sberbankconline».

IT-specialist Sergey Dementiev tried to understand the specifics of «Lucky Labs». Conclusions can be presented on the following points:

  1. Kirill Sygyda, one of the directors of «Lucky Labs», acknowledged that the company is really developing software for games, but its nature is outsourcing rather than operating: that is, it creates a product and sells it, but it has no relation to the online-casino’s functioning.
  2. The online-casino is an organization that accepts bets with real money. It’s not ordinary entertainment resources. Ukrainian legislation considers any game activity as a gamble, which involves payment of money by the player, including non-cash payment through payment systems (remember, this is also the field of «Lucky Labs» training).
  3. There are countries where the casino is absolutely legal. For example, an operator can obtain a licence in Malta, in Curacao or Gibraltar, and you can develop software from anywhere in the world. «Lucky Labs» has an office in Malta: there is a logical question, is it really illegal to create «Lucky Labs» software? Another thing is that the operator has no right to grant access to the resource of online-casinos to residents of countries where the prohibition on the gambling’s commercialization is in effect.
  4. Vitaliy Ofat, one of the leading employees of «Lucky Labs», points to LinkedIn that he was involved in the projects of «Lucky Partners», «Poshfriends» and «Friends.Pokerdom». The same information is also indicated in the profiles of other employees Vitaliy Stepanenko and Konstantin Chernetsky. These projects are partner programs that specialize in increasing traffic on the services of «Vulcan Club», «Joycasino», «Casino-X» and «Pokerdom».
  5. Some employees of «Lucky Labs» (for example, Sergei Kabatov and Evgeny Pravovednikov) are simultaneously connected to «Globotech». The address of «Lucky Labs» also points to the same firm.
  6. Roskomnadzor censored and blocked many affiliates «Lucky Labs’» programs: just because of involvement in gambling.
  7. Kirill Sygyda himself is not only the «Lucky Labs’» commercial director but also the marketing director of «Adwise agency». It is the company positioning itself in the market for entertainment services, advertising, as well as products for adults. «Lucky Labs» is looking for employees for it. On one of the videos taken at the office of the company, it is clearly visible the vacancy on the bulletin board: the «arbitrator binary», and this is already written, so to speak, in black and white (in this case – in yellow), it is difficult to deny.
  8. Continuing the previous theme: «Adwise agency» turns out to be connected with such resources of pirated content as «Kinogo», «Seasonvar», «My-Hit», «HDRezka», «Zaycev», and also with porn-sites «Runetki», «Dojki», «Perfectgirls», «Xvideos». Advertising on these sites with red Ariadna thread leads to the products of the development of «Lucky Labs» («Vulcan Club», «Pokerdom»).
  9. «Lucky Labs» in some cases is called a «product company»: it’s not a supermarket, it’s important to ensure the activities, the very operation of the online-casino, and this goes far beyond the simple creation of software.
  10. «Lucky Labs» is looking for specialists for such vacancies: an SEO specialist for production of a poker-related product, a designer (for creating an image of its own projects – online-casinos and slots), as well as an Internet marketer.

Probably, «Lucky Labs» is still a product, not an outsourcing company since it is the product company – operator – that has a need for such stuff.

However, we cannot ignore the supporters of cleanliness of «Lucky Labs»: many of them believe that the conflict between the company and the Security Service of Ukraine is simply far-fetched, eared for the ears, «paid up», and «Lucky Labs» itself represents one of the best developers of high-quality it products

There are also reports that «Lucky Labs» is also an international it-company: but ironically confirmed are the facts that the company did create a product for European customers, and some subsidiaries of «Lucky Labs» were sold as a result to foreign companies – also related to gaming machines. But so far there have been no official statements from representatives of the Security Service or «Lucky Labs», there are no clear data on the investigation’s results, it isn’t easy to judge and draw unambiguous conclusions – they will definitely be far from the real situation and extremely subjective. So far, from the fact that walking in the network, it is known: «Lucky Labs» allegedly accused (counter) the SSU that the searches cost the company at least 12 million dollars in damages. Therefore, the company requires law enforcement agencies to compensate for the damage. And the SSU, in turn, opened a criminal case against «Lucky Labs».