Court decision to ban access to 426 sites in Ukraine canceled

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The decision of the Ukrainian court to close access to 426 sites, including the Bits.Media forum, has been canceled. It is believed that the complaint was filed by a former organizer of pyramid schemes.

On February 25, the National Commission of Ukraine on Regulation in the Sphere of Communications and Informatization sent a notification to telecom operators, demanding that they immediately block access to 426 sites in Ukraine. The list included the Bits.Media forum, the ForkLog cryptocurrency portal, the mmgp.ru forum, the Russian media RBC, Banks.ru and Arguments of the Week, as well as the LiveJournal blogging platform. The notification was sent in connection with the ruling of the Goloseevsky Court of Kiev under Article 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, part 3 (fraud on an especially large scale with the use of computers).

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During the day it became clear that the court satisfied the claim filed by businessman Alexander Pan. According to media reports, he previously bore the surname Prochukhan. This surname is often mentioned in many articles where he is mentioned as the organizer of fraudulent schemes and pyramids. Prochukhan is associated with MMM-2011, as well as with the projects “Formula Money – Golden Section”, FD Invest, Questra World and AGAM. There are suggestions that Prochukhan changed his last name in 2018 to avoid responsibility.

The citizen said that 61 sites on this list contain false information that discredits his dignity. Pan claims that these online resources allegedly interfered with his personal life between 2016 and 2018. The plaintiff said that despite his requests, the site administrators did not delete this information, so in mid-December 2020, Pan was forced to sue them.

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The list of sites indicated by the plaintiff lacks many of the above media outlets, but the Reddit forum is indicated, which never made it to the list of sites to be blocked. The Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mikhail Fedorov said that he would not allow blocking the GitHub portal either. The police and the prosecutor’s office challenged the court’s decision because it was issued at the request of a citizen without proper analysis of the list of sites. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko called the court decision unfounded and suggested filing a complaint against the judge. Gerashchenko questioned the competence of Judge Plakhotnyuk Ye. G., who ruled to “seize intellectual property rights” of these 426 sites. Sergei Ostrovsky, partner of the law firm AURUM, considered this formulation legally untenable.

“Representatives of Themis should not follow the lead of swindlers and make arbitrary decisions on behalf of Ukraine,” said the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

Later, the press secretary of the Kiev city prosecutor’s office Nadezhda Maksimets announced the closure of the criminal case and the cancellation of the blocking of these sites. At the same time, the prosecutor’s office began an investigation into the actions of employees of the Goloseevsky police department.

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