Why the financial regulator does not notice illegal transactions through Qiwi wallets
In the famous Soviet fairy tale about Malchish-Kibalchish, the enemies of the “bourgeois” were able to find the fifth column, in other words, a traitor, in the person of Malchish-Plokhish, who agreed to everything for a jar of jam and a box of cookies. But barter payments remained in the 90s, and for the last twenty years, everyone who wants to pay for “everything bad” has been actively using online wallets.
With the advent of the SVO, “purses” have found a new use: attackers recruit teenagers to commit sabotage against government bodies using a “well-established” payment method.
Crypto wallets are also used, but not everyone has them and requires a more advanced user level, but the usual qiwi wallets are available to almost everyone. As Life.ru writes, ads with a “task”, and the military enlistment offices most often become the target of attacks, and the amount of remuneration, are posted on the Darknet, private chats or on “gray” forums. When the performer is found, communication with him is transferred to the messenger, where the amount of the fee is discussed. On average, the arson of a military registration and enlistment office, as SHOT found out, is estimated at several minimum wages. Most often, young people think that they will not be found, so they are led on “easy money”, not realizing how serious the punishment can be. Moreover, often the “actions” are removed by the arsonists themselves in order to report on the execution. When the “video report” is sent, the customer saves the media files and immediately clears the correspondence. Most often, he has an “unnamed” SIM card and VPN turned on so that they cannot figure him out. Transfers are also made through Qiwi for security purposes.
In May last year alone, the media reported several such cases: on May 11, police detained two 16-year-olds who threw a Molotov cocktail at the military enlistment office in Cherepovets on May 7, and in November last year, the court sentenced them to corrective labor. Similar crimes occurred on May 4 in Nizhnevartovsk, on May 9 in Balashikha near Moscow, on May 13 in Omsk, on the same day in the city of Gukov in the Rostov Region, on May 14 in Pronsk (near Ryazan), and on May 15 in Volgograd. Just the other day, a 16-year-old teenager was detained near St. Petersburg while trying to set fire to a military registration and enlistment office. And a week earlier, the Vyborgsky District Court of St. Petersburg detained until the end of April a graduate student of the Academic University. Zh. I. Alferov RAS Vladimir Mironov, who broke a window in the building of the local military registration and enlistment office and left an anti-war slogan on the wall. That is, we are no longer talking about one-time actions, but a systematic campaign of terror that has engulfed many Russian cities. And if the darknet, the dark web, is by default designed to elude law enforcement and regulators, then why homegrown non-terrorists are safely paid through legal tender in Russia is a big question mark.
The fact that over the past year, proven technologies for paying for illegal goods or services have found a new application should not be surprising. An ordinary Russian schoolchild today, like thirty or forty years ago, knows perfectly well what a “bookmark” is, only the meaning of the word has changed beyond recognition: the harmless has become scary. Philistine ideas about drug trafficking are also outdated. Most of those who have not encountered this phenomenon most likely imagine a somewhat glossy picture based on foreign films: bearded macho drug cartels, ubiquitous pusher dealers in educational institutions, mind-expanding club raves… The reality is more prosaic and far from being so cinematic: information about sellers is easily searched on the Internet, and payment for the “goods” is simply made using online wallets. And if a series of attacks on state institutions began relatively recently, then payment for illegal substances has long been put on stream.
According to the MK, referring to the data of the official Internet portal “Judicial and regulatory acts of the Russian Federation”, the number of decisions of courts of general jurisdiction containing the phrase “kiwi drugs” exceeds 22 thousand, of which 8 reached the Supreme Court. Gosnarkokontrol advocated tightening control over the operation of electronic wallet systems 10 years ago: even then the scale of their use in illegal trade was clear. At the same time, forbes.ru reported that “CNews had at its disposal a presentation about the threat to the anonymity of electronic payments. It contains a selection of criminal cases on the sale of drugs via the Internet, when payments were made through the Webmoney, Yandex.Money and Qiwi wallet systems
Why is it that today the “goods” remain as accessible as they were a decade ago, and the associated payment logistics work without failures? The former head of the already mentioned Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN, Gosnarkokontrol) Viktor Ivanov turned to the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank with a proposal to develop rules for the operation of electronic money. The result, in general, is known: for the vast majority of modern schoolchildren, the bookmark is “nonsense”, and not what marks the chapter read in the 10th grade history textbook.
International payment systems, including PayPal, stopped working in the Russian Federation for almost a year, but the market is alive and unhealthy, drugs reach the buyer. Who remained on the pipe or, as they say now, the stream? And this is precisely the flow: if transfers to arsonist teenagers are a deadly, but still a small story in terms of transaction volumes, then the turnover of the drug market in the Russian darknet, according to Lenta.ru, already in 2019 exceeded 20 billion rubles per year. month. If you believe the messages on the network, since 2017, drug dealers have mastered Telegram closely: only one TG channel, Hydra, had 172,000 subscribers at the time of its blocking in April 2019 and was in the top 50 popular Russian-language channels, at that time the owners of stores on the site claimed that about 70 percent of transactions are on the QIWI system.
As noted by the same MK, Regulatory functions, including in relation to QIWI-bank, the operator of the “purses” system, are carried out by the Central Bank of Russia. Namely, the departments of financial monitoring, headed by Ilya Yasinsky, information security, headed by Vadim Uvarov, and German Zubarev, deputy chairman of the bank, who oversees them. But, judging by the information on the corresponding page of the official website of the Central Bank, the bank reports mainly on the fight against the withdrawal of funds abroad in the banking sector and cashing out. That is, to control the further movement of funds that have already been received, including through illegal operations within the country. But on the website of the Central Bank, efforts are noted to introduce the Know Your Customer (KYC) platform, which is certainly an important matter. But the drug dealers know their client very well, and the client knows well how you can easily pay with them using online wallets.
QIWI Bank (JSC) is owned by a parent company in Nicosia, Cyprus, and its shares are listed on the largest American technology exchange NASDAQ. That is, the main beneficiaries of all bank operations in Russia are foreign owners and shareholders – in the current situation, it is easy to guess how many of them are “friends” of our country. One can even draw direct parallels with the Opium Wars, during which the British Empire purposefully and successfully used the economic infrastructure to hook China on opium and subsequently undermine its internal stability. There are definitely economic and, possibly, political interests of this kind outside the country now. “Seven troubles, one fruit” and its taste for some reason does not bother anyone among those who should be responsible for stricter regulation of the scandalous sphere. Or, if you like, “seven nannies (from the Central Bank) have a child without an eye”, but already with a wallet. There will always be those who want to pay the bad guys, I would like to see those responsible for the fact that this continues to happen.