A controversial Russian linked betting firm 1xBet Kenya is back in the country carrying out its operations anonymously . It is being managed by Advanced Gaming Limited in a conspicuous manner.
We’ve established that on July 28 2023, Betting and Control Licensing Board in unclear circumstances gave two licence numbers 0000535 and 0000324 to the company to operate in the country.
We have information that Arthur Mildow, the CEO has secretly been staying in the country and facilitated the registration of the firm. 1xBet is alleged to be involved in money laundering via what industry players claim is miscoding.
In Kenya, Advanced Gaming Limited operates as officially registered 1xBet, and hence for what lawyers say is purely on a legal perspective does not have links with the Russian company apart from using its brand 1xBet.
Sources at BCLB revealed that they gave two licences to Advanced Gaming, one to engage into bookmaking and the second, for organising gambling on the internet.
Insiders say, Advanced Gaming is part of 1xBet which operates in large divided unit comprising of numerous firms across the world. 1xBet is associated with Russians; Roman Semiokhin, Sergey Karshov and Omitry Kazorin.
Karshov died in June while allegedly undergoing medical procedure in Switzerland. It was said the contrasts fluids the hospital used to prepare him for the MRI caused an allergic reaction when placed on the MRI machine. The situation deteriorated into a coma. What raised eyebrows was the fact that the Russian tycoon was admitted in one of the best hospitals in the word.
What has surprised the local betting industry is the fact that BLCB cleared 1xBet when it is well known the founders and those linked to it are on the international list of most wanted. 1xBet lost its licence during the Uhuru Kenyatta era on grounds that it was engaged in money laundering, promoting and engaging youths in gambling games even underaged ones.
When 1xBet first entered in Kenya 2016, it operated under the Matiang’i ownership of Ex-Invest Limited but has now changed to Advance Gaming.
It has emerged that Mildow conspired with his brother Vadim to change registration and ownership in running 1xBet in Kenya. For years, the duo have managed to operate in Kenya despite being on international security radar.
Sources within the international community claim that the brothers have been linked to multibillions drugs trafficking and money laundering. They are said to operate underground and are rarely seen in public.
They were linked to one time famous Westlands social joint in Nairobi, Pavement Club.
They are staying Kihara in Muthaiga and Muthangari after secretly sneaking back into the country.
During Uhuru’s era, the two Russians could not believe it when they landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on August 5 2019 and were deported back by immigration officials. Come January 7 2020, then Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i declared they were a security risk and not wanted. The deportation order stated, “Arthur Mildow who is not a citizen of Kenya and whose presence in the country is contrary to national interests, be removed from Kenya to his country of origin Russia, and further direct that the said Vadin Mildov remain in police or prison.
How 1XBet And Other Betting Firms Laundering Dirty Cash In Kenya Through Cryptocurrency.
They allow punters to transact using hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies.
This cost the country billions of shillings in uncollected taxes while laundering funds earned through illegal activities such as smuggling and trafficking in minerals, wildlife, drugs, and people, or financing organised crime.
It is a development that does not only cast a spotlight on sports betting as an avenue for money launderers but also how the gambling craze is aided and abetted by newer, sleeker financing schemes such as cryptocurrencies that authorities are yet to fully understand.
The fact that most betting casinos operate on the borderless, largely lawless internet has seen a lot of bookmakers operate in Kenya without paying the requisite taxes or following regulations.
The use of untraceable cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin leaves the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in a fix, not only because the bookmakers are registered outside Kenya, but also because even if KRA had a tax information exchange agreement, there is no paper trail to show the source of the transaction.
Nearly all the gaming websites have the option of paying using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and Dodge, which tend to offer users some anonymity, thus the possibility of enabling tax evasion and other illicit financial flows. Others also allow punters to pay using M-Pesa, a mobile payment service offered by Safaricom.
On its website 1xbet, the company says it has operations in CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, including Kenya. It allows gamblers to bet using bitcoin, a type of crypto-currency that allows for anonymity and whose credibility has been questioned by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and other global banks.
For deposits and withdrawals, punters are encouraged to open accounts in cryptocurrencies. One of the advantages of opening a cryptocurrency account, the company says on its website, is that it is anonymous as one is not required to provide any personal details.
Other cryptocurrencies used on the website include Lifecoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Etherereum, Monero and Cash. “We guarantee a personal approach with your best interests in mind, easy payment methods and, what is most important, 100 per cent payouts on all winning bets! May luck never leave you!” the firm says.
With reports showing that Kenyans, alongside Nigerians and South Africans, are some of the most active participants in the bitcoin market, this might as well have been fueled by the sports betting craze.
In 2019, Kenyan bitcoin investors lost millions of shillings after falling prey to a Brazilian pyramid scheme that went down with their money.
The company is known as Velox 10 launched operations in Kenya on September 20, 2017, and was run by a Brazilian known as Ricardo Rocha. Velox, which claimed to trade in bitcoins, promised to help Kenyan investors earn millions of shillings in profits.
Investors were required to pay Sh10,000 (then $100) as a membership fee, and an additional Sh20,000 ($200) as an upgrade fee with a promise of raking up to Sh400,000 ($4,000) in daily profits. Premium tears!
1Xbet Tycoons must be persona-non-grantas in Kenya