Russian Court Sentences 1xBet Operator to Three Years in Prison

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1xBet might have legitimate operations around the world, but it isn’t welcome in Russia. That hasn’t stopped it from operating there, however, and some of the online gaming platform’s in-country operators have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. One has now been found guilty and yesterday learned her fate.

1xBet Entrepreneur Avoids Jail

According to a statement issued by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Bryansk Region, Olesya Mospanova was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of about $11,200. However, the former manager of Bookmaker Pub, which used 1xBet to place online wagers, was apparently given leniency because she has a young child. This means her sentence was suspended until that child turns 14. 1xBet founder Roman Semiokhin allegedly purchased Bookmaker from its founder, Alexander Mironov, in 2014. 

The 39-year-old Mospanova had been found guilty of illegal organization and conduct related to unauthorized gambling activity. However, she wasn’t involved in setting up or developing the 1xBet platform. Her arrest and subsequent sentence have been viewed by some as nothing more than an attempt by the government to target anyone they could over 1xBet’s activity in the country and, specifically, Bryansk. The company’s founders were only sentenced in absentia, and their names have been added to an international wanted list. They’re joined by Sergey Krechetov, who allegedly helped launder millions of dollars of the company’s revenues.

An Intricate Tale of Operations

1xBet has an interesting backstory that reads like a good thriller novel. It was founded by Semiokhin and Dmitry Kazorin and Sergey Karshkov, the latter being a former employee of the Department of The Regional Ministry of Internal Affairs. The platform was first introduced in 2014 and rapidly found success. From that time until 2019, when an investigation into its operations began, the government has asserted the online sportsbook collected around $886 million. That figure, however, was “pulled out of thin air,” according to Semiokhin.

The platform is still in operation today and is legitimately run through a license that allows it to offer its services – except in Russia. The company’s founders live in Cyprus and are well-established public figures, unconcerned about the attention they’re getting in their home country. 1xBet has been associated with FC Barcelona, Liverpool and others.

1xBet, according to Russian authorities, still operates in Russia, albeit illegally. The primary 1xBet site had been blocked by authorities, so its founders used a series of mirror sites to circumvent the controls. In addition, 1xStavka has permission to operate, and the sportsbook has discernible ties to 1xBet. The company is owned by Bookmaker Pub, the same company where Mospanova used to work.

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