Russian authorities investigate BTC mining equipment importer

A company that imports SegWitCoin (BTC) mining equipment in Russia is under criminal investigation for alleged underpayment of custom fees. The company, Far-East Trading and Industrial Company, popularly known as DTPK, is alleged to have failed to pay more than $1.2 in custom fees according to a search warrant obtained by CoinDesk.

The Russian Federal Customs Service alleges that DTPK displayed falsified documents indicating incorrect prices for their mining equipment. They included Bitmain’s Antminer S9-13.5, D3 and L3+ models as well as their attached power elements.

The agency further alleges that the Moscow-based DTPK also falsely claimed to have received the equipment from MSR Co., a South Korean firm through a Hong Kong-based company known as Manli. However, upon inquiry, the agency discovered that Manli’s business relationship with DTPK had ceased years ago.

Part of the warrant stated, “In an undefined time, but no later than August 8, 2017, [DTPK CEO] Artem Aleksandrovich Bublik … got involved in a criminal conspiracy with undefined individuals, the goal of the conspiracy being avoiding due customs fees in especially large amounts while importing into the Eurasian Economic Union of ASIC miners and power elements for ASIC miners.”

The investigation became revealed to the public on July 25 in Moscow during the TerraCrypto mining conference by Alexander Shashkov, the founder of Intelion Mining, a crypto mining company. According to him, the agency suspected that Intelion was harboring some of the equipment belonging to DTPK. It therefore sent armed officers to Intelion’s premises for investigations.

In Tula, one of the cities that his company operates from, the agency sent 20 men armed with machine guns, he narrated. In the other premises in Moscow, the agency sent 10 men with pistols who ordered everyone to get their hands off their computers.

The agency didn’t find any of the DTPK equipment it was in search of. However, it ended up seizing 2,500 ASICs hosted by Intelion as the clients who owned them failed to show valid documentation.

The head of Bitmain in Russia, Yulia Fetisova, attributed the undocumented mining equipment to third-party vendors who bypass Bitmain’s supply chain. These vendors buy large shipments from the Beijing company and then sell the equipment to miners who are too impatient to wait for the official company supply channel.

He told the outlet, “The grey ones come from the Chinese reselling companies and don’t go through the Russian office. Often, people don’t want to wait for the delivery from us, so they go to these reselling companies because they want their miners here and now.”

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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