We suggest you familiarize yourself with the tenders held by the Regional Operational Search Administration (subordinate to the Federal Customs Service) so that there is no doubt about selling of personal data by the Skolkovo spammers. In 2017, OOO “ExpertBusinessConsulting” provided mysterious services on "maintenance of general system software in the field of economic security" to customs officers (auction No. 0162100025117000038, and etc.). On page 49 of the tender documentation we find a description of personal information sold to customs officers from a database owned the Estonian citizen Ksenia Kostina.
Customs officers should grow suspicious even more when they read the payment conditions for goods and services using bank cards through “Online payment service”. The Estonian-Skolkovo spammers are in the list.
The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) is trying to force Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to transfer servers to Russia. At the same time, the Estonian project Leadgid.eu is flourishing, which collects and sells personal data of the Russians around the world.
Conglomerate Leadgid has billions of dollars in turnover, uses Skolkovo tax remissions and is structured according to a scheme that has signs of business fragmentation. Roskomnadzor has no complaints against Leadgid. Strange, isn't it?
In 2018, the Rostov Arbitration Court considered cases No. A53-24718/2018 and A53-23163/2018, in which OOO “Inbox” (INN 7802620788, website https://ultrazaym.ru/) tried to challenge the decision of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS). From the case papers it follows that a complaint has been filed with the department, which informs about the facts of receipt of advertising text messages to a phone number without the consent of an owner. The spammers brought good news to the applicant: “Alexander, an online loan of up to 25,000 rubles has been approved for you. Pick up manime.ru/bjSg”. OOO “Inbox” also sent spam in Karelia (case А26-7654/2018): “Vadim, loan at 0% in CreditPlus of up to 15000 rubles. Get –crp-dc.ru/702”. A similar case was considered by the Arbitration Court of the Chuvash Republic (case No. A79-2336/2019): “Evgeniy, you cannot get a credit? Make money playing at ROX casino rox-pc.ru/iWy4”, “Evgeniy, an online loan has been approved for you. Pick up zaymal.ru/iWy4”.
ООО “Inbox” is found to be in breach of the requirements specified in Part 1 of Article 18 of the Advertising Law, expressed in the distribution of the indicated text messages of an advertising nature to mobile phone numbers, without the prior consent of subscribers. The decisions stood up on appeal, where it would seem spammers dragged themselves for a trifling reason. Where does this persistence come from? The answer is simple: the violations revealed by the FAS are at the heart of a semi-criminal business running into billions.
The escape of the spammers to Skolkovo from the FAS
OOO “Inbox” was founded in 2017 by Sergey Golub (born November 24, 1982). In 2018, he sold the company to Anton Bozhko (born May 31, 1983). Bozhko is the director of OOO “FINMEDIA” (revenue in 2019 – 648 million rubles, https://manimani.ru/) and ООО “KLIENTIKA” (revenue in 2019 – 107 million rubles, previously was the owner of the domain https://ultrazaym.ru/) owned by Golub. Almost all companies affiliated with Golub and Bozhko carry out support activities in the field of financial services. The revenue of the group of companies reaches about 5 billion rubles, but the partners are apparently not happy to pay taxes from this money. Therefore, the business is structured according to a scheme similar to the one that the Federal Tax Service calls business fragmentation (creation of a group of seemingly independent single purpose companies with the aim of illegal tax optimization).
Another Golub's company, OOO “EBK” (an online service Exbico.ru attracts customers and checks their credit capacities) is a Skolkovo resident with a revenue of 249 million rubles. The co-founder of OOO “EBK” is the Estonian citizen Ksenia Kostina, better known as the spouse and PR officer of the former young guard, and now an immigrant, Terenty Meshcheryakov. These people directly and through dozens of legal entities own more than a hundred sites of the same type that offer assistance in obtaining loans.
The working principle of the Skolkovo spammers was disclosed in the above-mentioned court decisions on the claims of OOO “Inbox” against the FAS, and legally it did not become more legitimate. The only question is the inactivity of the regulator, which spent time on solving a particular problem (roughly – one text message) and does not take measures against the source of millions of such text messages. OOO “FINMEDIA” owns the service https://usermining.ru/ which collects information about site visitors who have not left a request for the service. This is in direct contradiction to the working conditions as a personal data operator, as which OOO “FINMEDIA” and OOO “EBK” are registered as.
108 domains are registered only at OOO “FINMEDIA” to collect personal data of people. These sites are the same type of microfinance organizations, among which there is not only a friendly-looking vydaem.ru, but also a Tinkoff-stylized (https://tinbank.ru/), as well as postabank.ru and cber-bank.ru (until 2019). However, information is collected not only from cookies and questionnaires on hundreds of sites, but also from other sources, the legitimacy of which is doubtful. For those who doubt that this is really so, Sergey Golub on the site of the Skolkovo resident presents his lecture on the use of special databases to test a borrower's solvency.
Skolkovo spammers sensibly assess risks of receiving lawsuits and claims from the FAS, it is clearly spelled out in the formal offer of OOO “EBK”. Spammers shift the risk of Maxim Shaskolsky employees claims to users of the system of unauthorized personal data collection.
By the way, for banks and microfinance organizations the system is also not transparent. For example, visitors of VTB Bank website can become Tinkoff clients. Most of the companies of the Estonian-Skolkovo spammers have their accounts in Tinkoff.
An employee of one of the presumably deceived developers of the "EBK system" (case No. 33-1160/2015 in the Avtozavodsky District Court of Togliatti), on condition of anonymity, told our journalist that the system probably has Cookie stuffing technology that allows to replace your cookies without following an affiliate link. This allows to falsify data reporting for obtaining additional payouts. Considering that the service of “fixing” site visitors who did not fill out questionnaires and left the site is advertised by the Estonian-Skolkovo spammers openly, there is a possibility that the cookies themselves are falsified.
OOO “EBK” has some sub-companies. OOO “FINSPIN” (former OOO “Revertex-Ebk”) and ООО “BANKI.RU – TEKHNOLOGII” sell credit files and recommendations for their improvement. How Skolkovo spammers work can be seen in the case 2-35/2019 (2-425/2018;) ~ M-410/2018, which is considered by the Novokhopersky District Court. Anna Ponomareva from the working settlement Elan-Kolenovskiy got improved her credit history that much that she received loans from 13 banks. But Anna Ponomareva, the operator of a local branch of Sberbank, a figurant of the VTB24 stop list, could not return the loans. Have Skolkovo spammers received 13 premiums from partner banks or not? We do not know, but we suspect that yes. Ponomareva indicated in the lawsuit that she unsuccessfully demanded to withdraw a personal data processing consent. Therefore, the question remains open whether Ponomareva received 13 credits or only 6 thousand rubles for a copy of her passport and a personal data processing consent.
Estonian ears of the Skolkovo spammers
The presence in the founding members of the Estonian citizen Ksenia Kostina who owns the leadgid.eu website, deserves a single assessment. Ksenia is no longer connected with Russia, since her husband Terenty moved in with her. Terenty Meshcheryakov is a respectable son of a Soviet political instructor of science, a member of the youth movement “Nashi”, a deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg, a former district head, a former administer of the 156 billion rubles for the development of transport infrastructure to the World Cup. Meshcheryakov is known as a kind of "Milonov-light" monetized successfully his loud patriotic mission in Russia and settled down on the other side of the border. Political instructors have always been in the forefront of traitors, therefore, upon arrival the spouses immediately not only bought an elite mansion for 289 000 euros, but also suggested Estonia to switch to English language. Yes, you didn’t misheard – to English, not Russian, although the deal was made and is being done in Russia.
The Russian mirror of the Estonian website is located at https://leadgid.ru and belongs to the Skolkovo resident OOO “LIDGID” (100% owner – Ksenia Kostina). There is a nightmare of a public security officer on the website – an Estonian company sells around the world personal data collected by the Skolkovo spammers. Kostina writes directly so: “LeadGid is an international commission-based affiliate network focused on financial campaigns. Founded in 2012, we have gained the real knowledge of the financial lead generation. Every month we deliver over million of consumer loan and credit card applications to banks and other loan originators across Europe, the CIS, Asia and Latin America”.
"Looks for suckers on ads and issues loans for them"
A loan broker deals with banks and microfinance organizations. Microfinance organizations are mainly associated with crime and fraud. For example, Alexander Shustov (MFO “Money Fani”), a defendant in a criminal case, is a close friend of Ksenia Kostina. It would be strange if the owners of such a large database of personal information did not succumb to the temptation of fraud. We can confidently assume that this is exactly what happened to Pavel Kholodenin, who is in connection with the Estonian-Skolkovo spammers. He has some kind of pathological passion for registering and liquidating companies with the sonorous name “Credit Assistance Service”, some of which – together with Oleg Popov. We find OOO “SSK” in Moscow (INN 7710961202), St. Petersburg (INN 7841503728), Chelyabinsk (INN 7451368985), Krasnoyarsk (INN 2466260030), Kemerovo (INN 4205252503), Novosibirsk (INN 5407478329), Tomsk (INN 5407478329), Sverdlovsk (INN 6671429487), Omsk (INN 5504010688) and Kazan (INN 1655294843). The same Kholodenin established OOO “Do zarplaty” (INN 4217142488) in Kemerovo and a dozen other similar companies, littered with claims and liquidated. OOO “Krasny Kvadrat” (INN 7725850150) and OOO “Raposta” (INN 5407963244, is being liquidated) are still operating. In relation to the latter, a claim is being considered, in which essential elements of offence are clearly visible under the article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Fraud). In 2018 the Koptevskiy District Court of Moscow considered the claim of I.V. Fedorov to OOO “Raposta” on the protection of consumer rights (file 02-0813/2018 ∼ М-0646/2018). The plaintiff motivates the claims by the fact that on 09.01.2018 he received an invitation by phone from the defendant to conclude a service agreement for obtaining a bank permit for issuing credit funds. Fedorov paid for the service, which he never received. No actions were taken to facilitate the receipt of credit funds from the defendant, the employees stopped answering phone calls, did not respond to claims, and did not return the money.
The genesis of the Skolkovo spammers becomes finally clear if you look closely at the native of Togliatti Rashid Dinyukov (born June 21, 1979), who was a co-owner of the Skolkovo resident OOO “EBK”. He appears along with Oleg Popov as a co-defendant in the claim of the developer "EBK system" and sold his share to Sergei Golub in 2018.
For the first time, Dinyukov became a defendant in a criminal fraud case back in 2006. If Oleg Popov had used his advice and checked the partner, he would have found a note about the partner in the banking databases "He is looking for suckers on announcements and apply for loans on their names". But Popov did not check it, as he presumably is doing the same, but more boldly. This is easy to establish if you go through 106 same type sites of the Skolkovo spammers, that appear to be partners of Sberbank, UniCreditBank, Russian Standard Bank, B&N Bank, Russian Agricultural Bank, VTB-24, Raiffeisenbank, Otkritie FC Bank, Gazprombank, Promsvyazbank and Citibank. All sites contain typical announcements (large) with conditions (small). Through this network the Skolkovo spammers catch poor fellows to get microcredits, which for many ends up with the forced “removal of their last pants”.
How useful is it for Russia that the benefits of a Skolkovo resident have been received by a group of companies whose information and financial flows are coming to Estonia? It is strange that the rhetoric “Russia in the ring of enemies”, popular among officials and deputies, turns on at the sight of the harmless and useful LinkedIn, but turns off in a really dangerous situation. How legal is it that the Estonian-Skolkovo spammers collect, accumulate and sell personal of people without their permission? How good is the service for improving credit histories for the country's economy and borrowers, as was it in the case of Anna Ponomareva? Perhaps, it would be better for a resident of a small town in the Voronezh region not to receive loans that she will never return? After all, the share of overdue debt in portfolios of microfinance organizations has reached 42% (according to the National Rating Agency) largely due to the activities of credit histories "optimizers”.
Leadgid is the leader in the market of leads sale due to the fact that Roskomnadzor is not confused by the colossal array of personal data in the hands of the Estonian-Skolkovo startup. All the regulator forces are thrown into a comical fuss with Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, which are required to transfer legally obtained information to Russian servers, while illegally collected personal data is leaked with the full consent of Roskomnadzor.
We can confidently assume that analysts of Roskomnadzor and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (are there such?) will clutch their heads only when the microcredit market bubble bursts and strong guys “with irons” will run into shacks of "the deep people". And we even know who exactly will sell the personal data of millions of suckers to collectors.