The co-founder of the Wex crypto exchange asked the court to mitigate the punishment and return the assets

The Moscow City Court has begun considering a complaint from one of the founders of the Russian-language crypto exchange Wex, which collapsed six years ago.. The defendant is accused of stealing several billion rubles.

Alexey Ivanov (until 2022 — Bilyuchenko) asks to review the decision of the court of first instance, which awarded 3.5 years in prison and a 500,000 ruble fine. With this verdict in the fall, the Meshchansky District Court punished the former administrator of Wex for theft of client assets worth 3.17 billion rubles.

The complainant considers the sentence too harsh and asks to remove the arrest from the accounts. At Alfa-Bank, the crypto businessman has enough money blocked to fully cover the damage, Ivanov-Bilyuchenko makes clear.

“Subject to the execution of the court agreement on cooperation, the presence of mitigating and the absence of aggravating circumstances, I ask you to reduce the sentence,” the defendant announced at a meeting of the Moscow City Court on Thursday, February 8, “and also to cancel the arrest imposed on the property and return the material evidence to the owners.”.

The court heard Ivanov-Bilyuchenko, but did not continue the hearing, postponing it to February 29.

The Meshchansky District Court made its decision on September 20. Moreover, the prosecutor then asked for 4.5 years in a general regime colony and a fine of 1 million rubles under Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Theft of someone else’s property by embezzlement or embezzlement as part of an organized group or on an especially large scale”). But the court softened the already rather lenient punishment.

On October 4, Ivanov-Bilyuchenko appealed the verdict. On November 17, the appeal was received by the Moscow City Court. Since December 7, the first meeting has been postponed three times.

Alexey Ivanov-Bilyuchenko, who has been in Russian pre-trial detention centers since March 2022, has a chance to be released from the colony almost immediately, as soon as it’s time to go to prison. A year in pre-trial detention centers is usually equivalent to one and a half years in a general regime colony.

Moreover, at the autumn meeting it turned out that the co-founder of the crypto exchange demanded leniency from the very beginning of the proceedings. In September, the defendant appealed to President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with a request to send them “to the zone of a special military operation” in order to “be at the forefront of the fight against the rising neo-fascism.”.

The only aggrieved parties involved in the process are the current owners of the Singapore-registered company World Exchange Services. The sole owner of the company is Armenian citizen Igor Pravdin. Until July 2023, the owner was Dmitry Khavchenko, known in the Donbass under the nickname “Moryachok”. The new owners of Wex believe that instead of mitigating Ivanov-Bilyuchenko’s sentence, the amount of demands should be reconsidered. Their estimate of damage is not 3.17 billion, but 16 billion rubles.

The interests of Mr. Pravdin are represented in court by the same lawyer as before September — the interests of Dmitry Khavchenko. Both are associated with businessman Konstantin Malofeev, who showed interest in the assets of Wex, which was closed in 2018 and its predecessor, which collapsed after the intervention of American law enforcement in 2017, the largest Russian-language crypto platform BTC-e.