The Moscow City Court refused to soften or cancel the sentence imposed on the co-founder of the Wex crypto exchange, Alexey Ivanov-Bilyuchenko. The decision means: the verdict came into force, according to which the businessman received 3.5 years in prison and a fine of half a million rubles.

The Moscow City Court considered the appeal on Monday, March 18, on the fourth attempt – the hearing was postponed three times before. Alexey Bilyuchenko (who changed his last name to Ivanov shortly before his arrest in 2022) asked to cancel the sentence passed in September 2023 by the Meshchansky District Court, citing excessive severity and the already completed voluntary compensation of approximately 3 billion rubles.

“I announced the damage solely for the purpose of allowing Wex to fulfill its monetary obligations to the users of the site,” the defendant assured in his last word. “I hope that the current management of the exchange will fulfill its obligations to users and return their funds.”

Representatives of the current management of Wex expected to return 4 billion rubles, but the amount of 3.17 billion has already been established by the examination, Ivanov-Bilyuchenko recalled (moreover, it is known that the management of World Exchange Services would like to receive 16 billion rubles).

“My lawyer in court attached documents and a unanimous decision of the board of directors of Wex, according to which the representative of the company Pravdin (Armenian citizen Igor Pravdin is now listed as the sole owner of Wex. – is authorized not only to personally receive money as compensation for damages, but and also personally return it to the users, since the damage was compensated by me precisely for this purpose.”

The prosecutor asked for the co-founder of the largest Russian-language crypto exchange at that time, which collapsed in 2018, 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 “). And I wouldn’t mind changing the decision of the Meshchansky District Court in a harsher direction.

But in his last word, the accused asked for leniency and humanity, and the appeal court upheld the district court's decision. The parties still have a formal opportunity to appeal the verdict of the Moscow City Court to the Supreme Court.

However, in fact, by March 18, three years out of the 3.5 awarded had expired (taking into account the year and a half in pre-trial detention), and Alexey Ivanov would theoretically be able to be released in September. The defendant considers the damage to be compensated thanks to his frozen accounts at Alfa-Bank.

A source close to the trial says: Mr. Pravdin and World Exchange Services filed a lawsuit against the co-founder of the exchange in the Savyolovsky District Court of Moscow in order to recover several more billion rubles.

The representative of Wex clients who lost money, executive director of InDeFi Smart Bank Sergei Mendeleev, does not believe in the desire of anyone to pay off defrauded depositors: “the tears that were seized in the accounts of Ivanov/Bilyuchenko will immediately dissolve into thin air without a chance of compensation for the real victims.” .

“The owners of the exchange were Vinnik, Ivanov/Bilyuchenko himself and Klimenko (Alexander Vinnik and Alexander Klimenko, as those involved in Wex’s predecessor, the BTC-e exchange, are now awaiting trial in the USA. – How can you steal money from yourself?! All this nonsense was invented solely for the purpose of fooling the real victims – namely the clients of the Wex exchange, to whom no one is going to pay a single cent.”

The victims are tens of thousands of citizens of a dozen countries, and the damage is measured in many hundreds of millions of dollars, says Mendeleev: “However, everything is turned out so that it is as if they did not exist at all.” Active Wex clients are planning to file a class action lawsuit in the near future demanding that their lost property be returned to them.