Russian police think that a “crypto influencer” known as Bitmama, aka the “Queen of Crypto,” may have sent tokens to support Ukraine’s military.
Valeria “Bitmama” Fedyakina was detained by police in September after an “acquaintance” accused her of fraud.
She remains in custody, and a news network released an image, apparently showing her in a pre-trial detention center.
Per the Telegram-based news channel SHOT and News.ru, the social media influencer, who is seven months pregnant, had asked a court to transfer her to house arrest.
But she was refused this request.
Officers consider her a flight risk, as she holds a UAE residence permit.
A branch of the Moscow City Court ruled that she could remain in custody until November 15.
The unnamed “acquaintance” told police Fedyakina tricked him into handing over some $70 million.
But officers reportedly think Fedyakina, a 28-year-old originally from Ukraine, embezzled this money.
And they reportedly think Fedyakina transferred “part” of the money she received to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Officers also believe Fedyakina received around $7.7 million from two other individuals, before “dropping off the radar.”
All three people said they wanted to use the money to invest in real estate in the UAE.
Russian ‘Crypto Queen’ Lawyers Say She ‘Doesn’t Support Ukraine’
Fedyakina positioned herself as a sanctions-evading mastermind who could use crypto to transfer money overseas unhindered by banking restrictions.
She celebrated various media articles that dubbed her the “queen of crypto” and the “queen of crypto exchange.”
The investors said “Bitmama” told them she would return their stakes, plus 1% in profits if they gave her the money.
The media outlets quoted Fedyakina’s legal team as stating that she actually “supports” Russia’s “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.
The team added that Fedyakina is actually “ready to donate funds to the [Russian] military.”
The lawyers claim that Fedyakina will be separated from her child after giving birth if she is not released.
The legal team claimed that their client was being framed, stating that she “withdrew money on behalf of her clients,” but was never repaid.
Russian law enforcement agencies have swooped on suspected crypto donors to Ukraine, with offenders receiving heavy punishment.
In June, a citizen in the Far Eastern territory of Khabarovsk Krai was detained by the FSB, Russia’s intelligence service, and charged with treason after allegedly sending coins to the Ukrainian military.