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Alex Slobozhenko: will Ukrainian parliamentary commission finally order his prosecution?

Alex Slobozhenko

Ukraine has long been – and continues to be – a haven for internet scammers and call center operators deceiving citizens of Poland. Weak legislation and widespread corruption prevent the crackdown on figures like Alex Slobozhenko.

IT company Traffic Devils, owned by Alexander Slobozhenko, is suspected of involvement in financial schemes and “black arbitrage” in favor of illegal gambling businesses from Russia. This is the minimum. In reality, Alexander Slobozhenko is implicated in even more serious scams.

The unexplainably lavish life of Alexander Slobozhenko

With his own office on Khreshchatyk, luxury sports cars, vacations at the trendiest global resorts, and interviews in glossy magazines, Alex Slobozhenko, a 25-year-old IT specialist from the Kiev region, has managed to become a dollar millionaire, according to the official version, thanks to the resale of internet traffic, a business conducted by his company Traffic Devils. He practically lives outside Ukraine, freely travels across Europe, and even visits Poland.

However, law enforcement and parliamentarians in Ukraine have taken an interest in the activities of this online casino “company.” They have discovered not only possible financial fraud but also a Russian connection.

A Russian trail in Alex Slobozhenko’s business

The figure of the 25-year-old Ukrainian millionaire and founder of IT company Traffic Devils, Alexander Slobozhenko, drew attention due to the publication by MP Alexander Kunitsky. The elected representative published a photo of Alexander Slobozhenko, asking his followers to provide information about his activities. He also noted that there is little hope for detailed information from law enforcement agencies regarding this individual.

Notably, Kunitsky is part of the parliamentary temporary investigative commission investigating cyber fraud and other potential crimes in the field of electronic financial services.

The Ukrainian parliament’s commission investigates Alexander Slobozhenko’s crimes

The Temporary Investigative Commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for the investigation of possible fraud and other unlawful activities in the field of financial services and financial markets conducted using information, electronic communication, information and communication systems and networks includes, in addition to Kunitsky, his parliamentary colleagues: Maxim Buzhansky, Alexander Danutsa, Artem Dmytruk, Volodymyr Zakharchenko, Konstantin Kasai, Maxim Pavlyuk, Nikolai Skorik, Alexander Sukhov, and Alexey Ustenko.

It is known that parliamentarians are seriously investigating the operations of fraudulent call centers and financial pyramids operating in Ukraine’s major cities without proper permits. These entities, operating under the guise of “investment” and IT companies, are active in many trade and business centers in the capital. One of the kings of this business is Alexander Slobozhenko.

Recently, Ukrainian authorities gave busted dozens of scam call centers. At least some of them are supposedly owned by Alexander Slobozhenko.
Recently, Ukrainian authorities gave busted dozens of scam call centers. At least some of them are supposedly owned by Alexander Slobozhenko.

According to MP Kunitsky’s message, Alexander Slobozhenko may be directly linked to the organization of a network of so-called call centers. It is also suspected that he may be involved in the trade of personal data of citizens.

Alexander Slobozhenko provoked society himself

Interestingly, the well-known Ukrainian IT specialist and Instagram blogger, founder of the Traffic Devils team, Alexander Slobozhenko, boasted to his followers on June 12th about the precious gifts he had given himself on his previous birthday. These gifts included Audemars Piguet Double Balance Skeleton watches and a Ducati Panigale Superleggera V4 motorcycle worth 130,000 euros (“+1 museum piece in the collection”). The businessman’s birthday celebration took place at a villa in Spain.

Alex Slobozhenko and his new toy.
Alex Slobozhenko and his new toy.

And all of this happened in August 2022 – during the height of Russia’s full-scale invasion and the state of war in Ukraine. However, these “nuances” do not seem to hinder Alexander Slobozhenko (who is likely of military age and unlikely to have health problems, as he continues to engage in extreme sports) from freely traveling outside his war-torn homeland. According to his social media posts, in August 2022, he also visited Italy, welcomed the new year 2023 at a ski resort in the Alps, and was seen in Poland in March of this year.

However, the attributes of a luxurious life and international voyages are just small details in the overall portrait of a successful IT entrepreneur. Behind them lies an equally interesting background – collaboration with semi-legal online casinos, Russian partners, and… criminal cases.

What is Alexander Slobozhenko known for?

Traffic Devils is the main Alex Slobozhenko's venue.
Traffic Devils is the main Alex Slobozhenko’s venue.

Alexander Slobozhenko, also known as Alex Slobozhenko, was born in August 1998 in the village of Belogorodka in the Kiev region. He grew up in a simple family without a father and, by his own admission, started working at a very young age. He began working as a helper to a builder as early as the sixth grade and later distributed leaflets. In his teenage years, he became interested in the e-commerce industry, which, in his case, involved illegal shops that defrauded customers. Over the course of 10 years, he became a millionaire.

Alex Slobozhenko
Alex Slobozhenko

In November 2019, Alex Slobozhenko founded his own company called Traffic Devils, which started generating income by the summer of 2020. Traffic Devils is described as a multi-bidding company specializing in traffic arbitrage, which involves buying traffic on one platform and redirecting it to another. The company’s team consists of approximately 250-300 people.

Alexander Slobozhenko himself claims to be the 2018 Ukrainian champion in road racing and the founder of the Traffic Devils team, which operates in the gambling industry. In one of his interviews, he mentioned that their monthly turnover is $1 million. He also emphasizes that he operates entirely legally. However, there are only a few mentions of him in official registries.

One such mention can be found in the database of the Ukrainian Institute of Intellectual Property. On July 2, 2020, Alexander Slobozhenko filed application number 202012898 to register the trademark “Traffic Devils.” Under this brand name, he intended to offer a wide range of services, from newspaper and magazine subscriptions to accounting bookkeeping and renting photocopiers.

Another mention is in the Unified State Register. According to the Clarity Project service, on July 29, 2020, a physical entrepreneur named “Slobozhenko Alexander Alexandrovich” was registered.

From this information, it appears that Alexander Slobozhenko legalized his activities as an individual entrepreneur not in 2017-2019, when he claimed to have created the “Traffic Devils gang,” but rather in the summer of 2020, just one month after a criminal case was initiated against him for tax evasion, a case in which the name Slobozhenko also appeared. This occurred after tax authorities visited his office. However, this is a separate issue.

“The devil is in the details”: what Alex Slobozhenko really does?

“For three years in a row, we’ve been ahead of everyone. We deliver tons of high-quality ‘traffic’ in Gambling, Dating, and other verticals. We make the most cash in the affiliate market in the CIS,” proudly states the official Traffic Devils website, interestingly, exclusively in Russian.

Alex Slobozhenko’s company also openly posts job vacancies on the internet. However, reviews from former employees raise concerns. They report delays in salary payments, poor treatment by top management, and… salaries paid in Russian rubles.

According to industry insiders, some details about what Traffic Devils actually does have come to light. In a broad sense, traffic arbitrage involves attracting customers for a percentage of sales. However, there are nuances, as gamblers explain. Arbitrage can be “white” (promoting internet stores, banks, online games, and other legitimate products using legal methods) or “black” (promoting not entirely legal and sometimes illegal products and services, which, among other things, deceive users). The methods of “black” promotion are also questionable, often involving circumventing the restrictions of digital platforms (Google AdSense, Facebook, etc.), closely linked to the so-called “darknet,” and criminal activities.

If we believe the publicly disclosed figures by Alexander Slobozhenko (around $1 million in turnover and 50,000 conversions per month), it can be calculated that online casinos pay him a commission ranging from 30% to 50% of the average deposited amount. In other words, the majority of the money deposited by players goes to Traffic Devils (or a similar structure) even before any bets are made. In essence, what the team is engaged in is likely truly “black arbitrage.”

Specifically, this may involve promoting questionable products and services, including illegal online casinos, bookmakers, “pirate” versions of internet games and applications, weight loss products, and other prohibited substances, among other things. It may also involve servicing various fraudulent call centers, pseudo-investment companies, and money laundering through electronic wallets.

Where is the “Russian connection” in Alex Slobozhenko’s story?

Several years ago, particularly after the annexation of Crimea, the outbreak of hostilities in Donbas, and Russia’s preparations for a large-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory, Alexander Slobozhenko ceremoniously announced the expansion of his business and the opening of new offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Traffic Devils team has always positioned itself as a company operating in the territory of the so-called CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), effectively benefiting Russia, where the majority of the real owners and beneficiaries of numerous online casinos are concentrated.

In the media, Alexander Slobozhenko is linked to the so-called “Donetsk” clan, which is believed to be the real investors and beneficiaries of the multimillion-dollar business. Journalists raise the question: how did a young man, essentially a schoolboy from the outskirts of Kyiv, manage to amass significant funds seemingly out of nowhere?

“Moreover, Alex Slobozhenko’s business is not registered in Ukraine, and it is backed by former pro-Russian regional politicians. In general, his trail leads to Moscow curators. Despite all this, he is currently in the spotlight, with many fans and followers in Ukraine. It’s unlikely that this story will end well for him because the activities of Slobozhenko’s company fall under the criminal codes of all sensible countries,” note media reports.

Furthermore, according to sources, Traffic Devils uses technologies related to bots and social media manipulation similar to those employed by Russian special services, such as the psychological operations units of the Russian GRU. It is interesting that “bot farms,” known for spreading fake news and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, are concentrated in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where Alex Slobozhenko opened offices, albeit under strange circumstances.

The activities of “traffic devils” and their leader have repeatedly drawn the attention of law enforcement.

Alexander Slobozhenko is involved in at least two criminal cases

In 2018, before the significant rise of the Traffic Devils company, the future multimillionaire was involved in a simple car accident. In the center of Kyiv, on Starovokzalna Street, a young driver, presumably Alexander, failed to consider road conditions, did not choose a safe driving speed, lost control, and collided with a parked car and two concrete flowerbeds.

In June 2020, Alex Slobozhenko came under the scrutiny of tax authorities. The State Tax Service in Kyiv initiated a pre-trial investigation into a criminal case numbered 42020100000000256 dated June 26, 2020, based on the signs of a criminal offense under Part 3 of Article 212 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, which pertains to deliberate tax evasion, fees (mandatory payments) included in the taxation system as required by law.

As part of this case, a search was conducted at Alexander Slobozhenko’s premises on July 17, 2020, during which investigators seized documents from OOO “Ofelia” and OOO “Smart-Invest.” Interestingly, according to registries, there is no apparent connection to Alexander Slobozhenko with these companies.

In the same year, the luxurious office of the “traffic devils” on Khreshchatyk Street was visited by SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) personnel. Searches were conducted twice, in July and September, but the results remained a mystery. The entrepreneurs themselves complained at the time about unjustified hostility from the Security Service towards the IT sector and pressure from law enforcement agencies.

How does Alexander Slobozhenko comment on allegations of collaboration with Russia?

In the lead-up to the Russian invasion, Alexander was a prominent figure in the social scene. On February 19, 2022, he proudly showcased his new purchase—a Ferrari SF90 Stradale supercar. A similar car he had crashed in Dubai at the end of January.

However, after the full-scale war began, Alex Slobozhenko remained silent for several months. There are no posts on his Instagram microblog from February to July 2022. Then, the young entrepreneur seemed to embark on a new phase of his life. He announced that he would work in favor of Ukraine and publicly called on his colleagues to join the information war against Russia.

“Our company, Traffic Devils, is actively adjusting advertising for the Russian audience through various sources that have not yet been blocked in Russia. The goal is to show what is really happening in Ukrainian cities. We call on conscious Russians to join rallies and protests against the war initiated by their regime,” notes Alexander Slobozhenko.

He has publicly emphasized that his company operates entirely legally. However, in his view, the problem lies in the lack of adequate and modern regulation in the Ukrainian gambling market.

We also attempted to contact Traffic Devils management directly to request comments or refutations of the accusations made in the media, using the email address provided on their website. However, we received a response from Google stating that the email address was not found or not accepting emails.

So who is Alex Slobozhenko really: an IT wunderkind supporting his homeland on the information front during wartime? Or is he an important cog in the multimillion-dollar illegal gambling industry with Russian roots? Is it time for law enforcement to take a closer look at the activities of the “traffic devils” once again?

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