10 Mar, 2023 @ 17:14
3 mins read

Kidnap, crypto and Ukrainians: The multimillion-euro scandal that looks to have defrauded hundreds in Spain and Gibraltar

Bitcoin2

A KIDNAPPING of two expats foiled by Spanish police last year is linked to an enormous crypto currency scandal set to rock Spain and Gibraltar, the Olive Press can reveal.

The incredible drama which saw the couple snatched and held for several hours took place after hundreds of investors feared they had lost as much as €70 million in the ‘crypto scam’.

The snatching of Russian Pavel Sidirov and his wife in June was initially treated by police as a routine extortion case, as we reported at the time.

The couple had been kidnapped outside their villa in El Campello, Alicante, by two bogus cops flashing fake Guardia Civil badges and a Russian woman acting as an interpreter.

Sidirov and his wife were bundled into a car, stripped and the wife was tied up and used as a hostage.

The gang then threatened both their lives if they did not hand over the codes to a crypto wallet containing millions.

Tech guru Sidirov cleverly bought time by telling the gang that the codes were distributed in 12 separate houses that they would have to go to individually to fetch.

Claves Secuestro Carlos Garrido Delgado 1737737270 170184535 667x375
Mastermind Carlos Garrido Delgado orchestrated the kidnapping of Pavel Sidirov and his wife – but he claims it was not a simple extortion scheme

And in one of them – with his wife still bound and gagged in the boot of the car – Sidirov was able to call his lawyer for help.

The lawyer alerted the police, who were quickly on the scene to catch the kidnappers. 

Police arrested six people, including the interpreter, as well as a retired Guardia Civil officer, while the alleged ringleader, Carlos Garrido Delgado, handed himself in to police in the ensuing days to deny he was a criminal.

Instead he claimed the scheme was a minor matter and he was merely representing a group of investors trying to recover €2 million ‘owed to them’ by Sidirov and the unnamed crypto firm he worked for as chief technical officer.

While it seemed to be the end of the matter, the Olive Press can reveal today that the kidnapping is just a small part of a much bigger scandal that is set to engulf the already beleaguered crypto industry.

The kidnapping, we have discovered, is linked to a Gibraltar-connected crypto firm that has become immersed in a murky world of trading failures.

According to well placed sources, hundreds of frantic investors are now scrambling to recover their funds from the trading platform Globix, which at its peak had almost €150 million under management.

Over the last few months it has gradually become clear to investors, based in Gibraltar and Spain, that Globix has allegedly lost as much as two thirds of this enormous sum.

And in a bizarre twist, we can reveal that the remaining €40 million is apparently in the hands of a shady IT firm based in Ukraine.

It happened after Sidirov activated a mechanism during his kidnap that sent the codes to Globix’s partners in Kyiv.

An independent investigation by a well known Gibraltar financial company brought in by investors, told them they had been struggling to get any money back from Ukraine.

Gib Lit Fest 4
The Globix cryptocurrency trading platform was founded by a Gibraltarian and the majority of investors out of pocket are said to be from the Rock

It added the CEO of the Kyiv-based firm had ‘not been forthcoming’ in his efforts to return the money and was ‘now under arrest’.

In the statement issued to investors in January, one missive seen by the Olive Press, reads: “The police have been contacted, as has the Ministry (of Finance) with responsibility, and collectively we are hopeful that they will ensure the process is completed satisfactorily.”

It added: “We have the Ukrainian special police involved and they have arrested three individuals. They are looking for a fourth individual. These people hold the data that is needed to facilitate the final transfer.”

While this has been hard to independently verify, documents seen by this newspaper suggest that the Globix platform suffered massive losses in the first half of 2022 and investors who used the platform told us they started to experience problems withdrawing their funds that spring.

“I got a very uncomfortable feeling in my stomach that something wasn’t right in May,” one female British investor based in Marbella told the Olive Press this week.

She spoke to us anonymously for fear of reprisals, but claimed to have lost €30,000 to Globix. 

“It was just one excuse after the other. Looking back at it, it is very likely a fraud. I’m bloody furious, to be honest,” said the former financier.

“These guys seem to have disappeared into the sunset.”

When contacted by the Olive Press for comment, the alleged boss of Globix dismissed all the allegations against him and his company as ‘lies’.

The Gibraltarian, who lists himself on LinkedIn as a ‘crypto mining broker’, said: “I’m not allowed to speak about that at the moment. Sorry.”

He added: “Basically someone is sh*t stirring and if you have any evidence send it to me. On top of that it’s still ‘secreto sumario’ at Alicante court [regarding the kidnapping of Sidirov] so you should talk to the court.”

According to his CV he attended the Tambov University, in Russia, before setting up ‘a crypto mining farm in Russia in conjunction with a Russian team’.

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]
@waltfinc

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