In a decisive move, UK regulators have tightened the leash on Dzing Finance Ltd, a payment institution controlled by Tatjana Orlova and Mikhail Nadel. Almost 20% of payments processed by the firm in the past year have been marred by fraud, prompting the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to step in with stringent measures.The FCA, on October 22, 2023, issued a firm yet concise notice, asserting that Dzing has consented to halt the onboarding of any new retail customers.
Dzing, Scams, And Money Laundering
Moreover, Dzing must freeze any incoming retail funds intended for electronic money issuance or payment services, unless given explicit written consent by the Authority. The FCA’s concerns stem from a worrisome pattern identified by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), an part of the FCA. On October 31, the PSR reported that London-based Dzing Finance was disproportionately linked to a specific type of scam, more so than any other institution, highlighting a significant risk within its transactional operations.
The PSR investigation brought to light the prevalence of authorized push-payment scams within Dzing’s operations, where victims are deceived into making fraudulent payments. The staggering figure of more than 187,000 fraudulent payments per million transactions in 2022 placed Dzing at the top of an ignominious list, far outstripping its fintech peers.
The FCA’s recent actions constitute a “voluntary undertaking” by Dzing, allowing the company to retain its active license conditionally. Yet, any expansion of its customer base or acceptance of new funds is effectively frozen until the FCA consents.
The Dzing Narrative
The FCA-regulated entity, Dzing Finance Ltd, is controlled by Dzing Finance Group Limited, registered in Ireland, and DEKIBA Trading FZE, registered in Dubai. Tatjana Orlova and Mikhail Nadel are registered as directors and shareholders in the Irish entity. Orlova is also the controlling person of the Cyprus registered technology company Dzing Technologies Ltd.
The FCA-regulated entity has a fully paid-up share capital of approximately GBP 14.5 million. According to the latest Companies House filings, it can be seen that Orlova is still the controlling person.
Dzing’s background adds a layer of complexity to the narrative:
- the biggest shareholder, Tatjana Orlova, is the ex-wife of Russian fishing billionaire Vitaly Orlov.
- Dzing borrowed millions of euros in 2021 from a Cypriot entity once backed by Oleg Boyko, a tycoon accused by the US of having “concerning ties” to Russian intelligence and organized crime and sanctioned by Canada and Australia last year, Bloomberg News has reported.
- Mikhail Nadel, who faced accusations of siphoning funds from Kyrgyzstan’s largest bank, founded Dzing in 2018. Despite these allegations, for which Nadel was sentenced in absentia to 16 years by Kyrgyzstan authorities, the FCA authorized Dzing as an EMI in 2019. Nadel was convicted of fraud and money laundering while he was in charge of AsiaUniversalBank, once the biggest bank in the Central Asian nation. Nadel, maintaining his innocence, has characterized the charges as politically driven. However, he has remained silent on the FCA’s recent clampdown.
Dzing, however, has contested the PSR’s findings, arguing that the report was not a fair representation, given the company’s actual volume of transactions is substantially less. They insist that the firm’s business model and control measures have since evolved, citing recent changes in senior management as evidence of their commitment to reform.
Dzing Key Data
Financial software & technology
|Dzing Finance Ltd (UK)
|Dzing Finance Group Limited (Ireland)
Dzing Technologies Ltd (Cyprus)
|FCA with Ref Nr 900993
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