The co-founder of the Wex crypto exchange can be released without serving time in prison

The Moscow City Court refused on Thursday, February 29, to consider the appeal of the co-founder of the Wex crypto exchange Alexey Ivanov-Bilyuchenko. Meanwhile, the prescribed prison term is gradually coming to an end.

The Moscow City Court postponed consideration of the complaint until March 18. Ivanov-Bilyuchenko asks to cancel the verdict of the first instance, according to which the co-founder of the largest Russian-language crypto exchange at one time faces 3.5 years in a general regime colony and a fine of 500,000 rubles. The punishment was imposed on September 30 by the Meshchansky Court of Moscow for the theft of 3.17 billion rubles of money from Wex clients.

The official reason for postponing the hearing was the judge’s illness.. This is the third postponement since the beginning of December, when the appeal was received by the highest authority in the capital.

The prosecutor's office also asks to change the verdict of the Meshchansky court, considering it too lenient. The state prosecution asked for 4.5 years in prison and a fine of 1 million rubles under Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Theft of someone else’s property by embezzlement or misappropriation as part of an organized group or on an especially large scale”).

In March it will be two years since Alexey Bilyuchenko, who changed his last name to Ivanov shortly before his arrest, is in a pre-trial detention center. Since, according to Russian laws, time served in pre-trial detention is counted towards 1.5 of the term imposed by the court, by the new date of the hearing three years out of the 3.5 years awarded will have already expired. If the practice of postponing hearings continues, the prisoner could be released by the beginning of summer.

Compensation of 3 billion rubles, which appear in the trial, is due not to its clients, but to the owner of the Wex crypto exchange – the Singaporean company World Exchange Services, which is backed by people associated with businessman Konstantin Malofeev. Active clients of the exchange that collapsed in 2018 are preparing a class action lawsuit demanding the return of what they lost in their Wex accounts.