FinTelegram yesterday brought an update on the Russian-controlled crypto payment processor Mercuryo. We have monitored this crypto payment processor for several years and uncovered that it had facilitated scams. Mercuryo, we were told today, has hired Austrian law firm Binder Groesswang to take SLAPP action against the European Fund Recovery Initiative (EFRI) for allegedly controlling FinTelegram and its reporting. The law firm has not heard of the Western sanctions against Russia and the Russians.
A SLAPP suit, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, is a civil claim filed against an individual or an organization arising from that party’s speech or communication about an issue of public concern. The EU Commission’s anti-SLAPP directive combines punitive and preventive measures to address SLAPPs with cross-border implications in the EU. Mercuryo evidently decided to SLAPP FinTelegram and EFRI.
Mercuryo already retained the Viennese law firm Schoenherr (website) last year to take action against FinTelegram. The reason? FinTelegram revealed that Mercuryo remained connected to Russia and Russian companies despite Western sanctions. In addition, we found that the crypto payment processor facilitated broker scams. Nothing came of the threatened lawsuits against FinTelegram. Therefore, Mercuryo has apparently decided to change its strategy.
The Mercuryo Group, controlled by Russian Petr Kozyakov and his partners through the Cyprus-registered MRCR Holdings Ltd, has hired the Vienna law firm Binder Groesswang (website) to take action against EFRI, registered in Vienna, and to obtain an injunction to prevent FinTelegram articles. Sound confusing? It is. The motion for the preliminary injunction alleges that EFRI and its individuals have control over FinTelegram’s reporting. Evidence for this is not provided, but interesting conspiracy theories are presented in the motion.
It is astonishing that a Viennese law firm, despite the existing sanctions against Russia and Russian-controlled financial institutions, would put itself at the service of Russians to prevent reports about their activities and SLAPP Western media outlets. Only two weeks ago, lawyers and tax advisors in Cyprus were put on the sanctions list for assisting Russians in their money transactions. Binder Groesswang ignored this.
Binder Groesswang also represented the now-closed Dutch payment processor Payvision. The Dutch financial market authority has filed charges of systematic money laundering and violation of financial laws against Payvision and its former executives around Rudolf Booker. The authorities’ investigation is ongoing. Payvision has been proven to have laundered money for the giant cybercrime organizations of Gal Barak and Uwe Lenhoff and is partly responsible for tens of thousands of victims. Barak and his officers were sentenced to prison and fines in Austria and Germany for this. We hope that those responsible for Payvision will also ultimately receive their punishment.