25 Jul, 2023 @ 18:00
4 mins read

No place to hide: Net tightens on Globix ponzi fraudsters as liquidators target wife and line up lawyers in Madrid and Moscow

LIQUIDATORS attempting to pin down €40 million missing in a giant crypto fraud are zeroing in on the wife of one of the chief suspects who acted as his ‘front-woman’.

Gibraltar courts have in their sights Russian Alla Babenko, 35, who is married to Globix digital architect Pavel Sidorov.

She is now the subject of a disclosure order and will face public examination over her role in moving the unaccounted millions.

Babenko, who claims she was kidnapped by a gang attempting to seize her crypto accounts in June 2022, is living in Alicante, the Olive Press can reveal.

Judge Liam Yeats granted the order during a Gibraltar hearing in which owner Damian Carreras and technical officer Sidorov finally made an appearance by video link after blanking a number of previous hearings.

After Carreras was grilled in court last Friday, it was Sidorov’s turn today – but despite showing his face he cried off amid claims he does not understand English and only spoke to the court in Russian.

A previous hearing established that Carreras, 39, had funnelled tens of millions in investor cash to crypto wallets not controlled by Sidorov, but to wallets in the name of his wife, Babenko.

Alla Babenko Globix sidorov carreras
Alla Babenko, the wife of Globix suspect Pavel Sidorov, in a police photo from her alleged June 2022 kidnap over the crypto wallets that were in her name

According to prosecutor Daniel Feetham KC, the shady manoeuvre has made Babenko a key player in efforts to trace the missing millions.

She has now been given seven days to respond to the disclosure order or be held in contempt of court.

And to underline that the suspects have no place to hide, Feetham told the court that they are in close contact with lawyers in Madrid in order to open proceedings in Spain should they try to evade the law in Gibraltar.

Gibraltarian Carreras is hiding out in Barcelona ‘afraid for his life’ after reportedly being ‘dangled by his ankles’ by shady characters invested with Globix.

Russian nationals Sidorov and Babenko are still believed to be based in Alicante city, putting them all within reach of Spanish justice. 

Liquidators also remain in touch with a highly reputable legal firm in Moscow, should any of them try to flee to Russia.

Carreras, who studied at Tambov University in Russia, demonstrated his Russian fluency to the Gibraltar court by translating for his erstwhile business partner Sidorov.  

The liquidators elected to excuse Sidorov from public examination, officially due to the lack of a translator.

But Feetham also publicly reasoned that, due to Sidorov’s total lack of cooperation, the liquidators needed access to the crypto wallets in Babenko’s name before they could effectively cross-examine him. 

Gibraltar Supreme Court
The hearing was the latest effort by liquidators to get Damian Carreras and Pavel Sidorov to appear before the Gibraltar Supreme Court

Through what meagre disclosures the liquidators have been able to ascertain, they established that €25 million in crypto currencies was transferred from a wallet controlled by Carreras to the Globix.cash wallet, controlled by Babenko.

From there, it is unclear what happened to the funds but it is known that €10 million was sent from Babenko’s wallet to sanctioned Russian exchange Garantex.

It was an alleged kidnap attempt on Babenko last June by angry investors frozen out of their funds that first alerted authorities that something was amiss with Globix.

In the shocking episode, the Babenko was allegedly snatched and held hostage outside the couple’s El Campello villa in order to compel Sidorov to hand over the crypto keys to the kidnappers.

But Sidorov somehow managed to alert his lawyer, who contacted the police.

Sidorov claims that during the attack he sent the missing millions – estimated to be €40m – to a Ukrainian partner in various crypto-wallets.

It was a process which allegedly saw all records between Carreras and Sidorov deleted.

Investigators have labelled the convoluted tale ‘unreliable’.

Carreras and Sidorov stand accused of running a Ponzi scheme that lured in €25 million in investor capital through their Globix crypto trading platform, trading under the British Virgin Islands-registered Miracle World Ventures.

Carreras managed to ensnare some of the most powerful and influential individuals in Gibraltar, as the Olive Press revealed previously, including former Chief Minister Sir Peter Caruana, leader of the opposition Keith Azzopardi and wife of the current Chief Minister, Justine Picardo.

With supposed returns of an ‘unbelievable’ 30% per month, Globix claimed 50% of the profits each investor made.

The solo director then took these millions and went on a spending spree at various luxury goods shops in Marbella’s Puerto Banus.

Liquidators are trying to determine if these purchases, made in 2021 and 2022, were with Carreras’ own earnings or if he funded his luxury lifestyle with investor funds. 

€900,000 Louis Vuitton Carpe Diem watch
Carreras put down a presumed €53,000 deposit on a Louis Vuitton Carpe Diem watch worth €900,000 as part of his Globix spending spree

Some of the purchases included a €53,000 deposit on a €900,000 Louis Vuitton Carpe Diem watch, as well as four Rolexes and two Hublot ‘Big Bang’ watches.

Carreras also tapped the plastic on a Mercedes Brabus G wagon, 2021, for €380,000 plus €32,000 import fee, among other excesses.

The Globix CEO told the court when examined on Friday that these luxury goods had been sold off when his platform first started experiencing ‘payment process issues.’

He claimed that they went to pay a number of Globix investors who had complained the loudest, including some to whom he had given his ‘personal word’.

“I handed over my assets and funds to [law firm] Verralls and they would sort that out,” he said.

He added: “I do not know who those funds were used to take care of.”

However under strenuous examination, Carreras denied that Globix had been a fraud from the start.

He insisted: “This was a trading platform that made dividends for investors and not a Ponzi scheme.”


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]

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