On February 21, 2017, Dmitry Medvedev submitted to the State Duma a bill that would prohibit banks and payment systems from transferring and accepting funds for the organizers of illegal gambling. The ban will not affect only a couple of bookmakers that are allowed to accept bets on the Internet. Sofya Savina figured out who benefits from the amendments and who controls the legal business of financial bets in Russia.




In total, there are 29 bookmakers operating in the country under the law. To get on the "legal" list, it is necessary to fulfill two conditions: obtain a license from the Federal Tax Service and join one of the self-regulated bookmakers organizations. There are two such associations in Russia - the First SRO bookmakers and the SRO "Association of Bookmakers". These organizations are managed by the bookmakers themselves and are endowed with broad powers: they develop rules for admission to members, the order of the organizers of gambling and establish penalties for violators. In addition, member companies are required to contribute to the fund of the organization.


Now all legal bookmakers are divided in half between the two associations. The most influential organization on the market for land bets is the Association of Bookmakers, led by Darina Denisova: it includes the largest offices.



The "white" online betting market is wholly owned by the members of the First SRO, whose president is Oleg Zhuravsky. Here's how it happened: by law, in order to be eligible to accept interactive bets, the bookmaker must obtain a license, join one of the SROs and connect to a special Internet Bets Acceptance Center (MCCIS). Such a center today in Russia is one, four bookmakers are connected to it: League of rates, 888.ru, Winline and 1xStavka. All of them are included in the First SRO bookmakers. The CCCIS, which opens the possibility of making bets, was established by the same self-regulating organization. The rate registration center operates on the basis of the non-banking credit organization "Mobile Card", one of the founders of which is the First SRO bookmakers. The list of the rest of the founders of the monopoly company "Mobile Card" allows you to judge who will make new bookmaker business restrictions.





The largest share (30%) in the authorized capital of the NGO "Mobile Card" belongs to Oleg Zhuravsky. It is he who is at the head of the First SRO bookmakers: in 2013 Zhuravsky created this organization and became its president. According to the personal website of the businessman, he actively participates as an ideologist, co-author and developer of federal laws regulating the activity of bookmakers. So, earlier he managed to allocate bookmakers offices and sweepstakes in a separate category, for which work was allowed on the entire territory of the Russian Federation, outside the gambling zones.


Among other merits, Oleg Zhuravsky in 2012-2013 served as an advisor to the governor of the Moscow region, Andrei Vorobyov, with whom he worked as a general director on the project "Park Russia". The project was to become a theme park with sights of all regions of the country in a reduced amount, but it was never built. He was called "Moscow Disneyland by Sergei Shoigu", and the land owned by the development company Coalco Vasily Anisimov, the businessman gave "a gift from Moscow suburbs."




Vasily Anisimov himself is also on the list of founders of the NGO "Mobile Map". He owns 10% interest in the authorized capital of the company. In addition to the general business, Oleg Zhuravsky and Vasily Anisimov have much in common. So, Zhuravsky is deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Judo Federation of Russia (it is called the "business club of Putin's friends"). The President of the Federation is Vasily Anisimov. It also includes the brothers Rothenberg. Along with Arkady Rotenberg, Anisimov established the Fund for the Preservation of the Spiritual Heritage of St. Sergius of Radonezh, and with Andrei Skoch and Alisher Usmanov, the Fund for Assistance to Victims in South Ossetia.


Other partners of businessmen in the NGO "Mobile Map" are not so famous. It is impossible to find information about the holder of 10% of the authorized capital Tatiana Polonskaya. Another 10% belongs to Anton Rozhkovsky. As stated in the documents, Anton Rozhkovsky is the executive director of Jet Mani Microfinance LLC. Rozhkovsky indirectly associated with the bookmaker's office "Winlinebet" - one of those who has the right to take bets legally. Thus, the predecessor of the company headed by Rozhkovsky - Jet Mani LLC was founded 99% by the Cyprus offshore company Monari Limited. This offshore owns 50% of the authorized capital of the Managing Company of the National Horse Breeding Union, which owns the legal online brand "Winline".




30% of the authorized capital of the "Mobile Card" were shared by Rashid Taimasov, Rustem Abdullin and Yulia Sanaya. All of them are connected with the company Royal Time Group, which is the founder of the betting company "Star Bet". Rashid Taimasov is a Kazan businessman, the owner of the largest in the gambling zone "Azov-City" casino.



Another 10% in the authorized capital of the non-banking credit organization "Mobile card" belong to Olga Lyalina. Through it, you can connect the company with a businessman, Igor Khodorkovsky, who made a fortune in the production of slot machines in Russia.



His company KSI, after a ban on gambling, continued to work abroad: in a customs document on the transportation of gaming equipment abroad in 2012, which appeared in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper in 2012, it was indicated that the Khodorkovsky company was sending slot machines from Russia to Colombia. Khodorkovsky now resides in Switzerland. There is also Vasily Anisimov.




The founding firms of many legal bookmakers are also abroad. For example, you should look at the owners of one of the most famous companies that work under the brand "League of Stakes". The founder of this company is Oleg Zhuravsky, president of the First SRO bookmakers. And today, LLC PMBK, which owns this brand, has five founders. Most of them are offshore companies, which does not allow to identify the ultimate business owners.



However, attempts are being made to do this. So, the owner of 30% of the authorized capital of the "League of Rates", founded by Oleg Zhuravsky, was named Suleiman Kerimov, an entrepreneur, a member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation from the Republic of Dagestan, the former owner of the Anji football club.


The fact is that the company "Akira Invest Corporation" (the founder of the bookmaker office) appeared in the accounts of OEK-Finance OJSC on the transaction with the hotel "Moscow". It mentioned the guarantee agreement dated December 3, 2009: "Akira Invest Corporation" took responsibility for the obligations of "Konk Select Partners INC". In the same account, it was said that OEK-Finance sells 50% of Konk Select Partners INC to Monora Limited. From another document, the judgment of the court of Nicosia, it follows that "Monora Limited" belonged to Suleiman Kerimov.


The fifth founder of the "League of Rates" - the company "Khmel Holding LTD" - is registered in the United Kingdom: it follows from the documents that its only shareholder is Russian Catherine Ronami. Before the wedding - Ekaterina Yurievna Krasovskaya. Russiangate assumes that the owner of the company is the daughter of Yuri Krasovsky, chairman of the board of directors of the League of Stakes and president of Oscar Yard Capital, founded in partnership with Zhuravsky's elite bookmaker club.




One of the founders of the "Oscar Yard" was the billionaire Oleg Boyko, the president of the investment holding company Finstar. Prior to the ban of a casino in Russia, the company Ritzio Entertainment Group, founded by him, was the largest operator of slot machines in the country. As Forbes reports, in the early 90's Oleg Boyko's minority partner in the OLBI concern was Igor Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government.


According to Russiangate, Igor Shuvalov is the curator of "gambling business" in the government. So, on the Internet a year ago there was a letter from Vasily Anisimov to the President of the Russian Federation, in which the businessman, referring to the support of Igor Shuvalov, asked about the legalization of online lotteries.


Supporters of the new bill say that it will allow to stop the withdrawal of national money abroad, since illegal online offices working with the help of "mirrors" are most often registered offshore. According to RBC, in 2016, at the request of the Federal Tax Service, Roskomnadzor blocked 12,600 resources devoted to gambling. At the same time, as is seen in the example of the "League of Rates" and a number of other bookmakers from the official registry, even the largest and legal companies come from the British British Isles. Nevertheless, if the February bill is adopted, the profits of these online bookmakers by eliminating competitors will increase significantly.