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Chechen casino operator in Dubai tries to hide truth

Chechen, Ilman Shazhaev, Juli Malakhova, Input PR, Khaleej Times, Entrepreneur, WIRED, The Verge, The Bock, The Wall Street Journal, Arabian Business, CoinTelegraph, CoinDesk, Fortune, Yahoo Finance, Dubai, Chechen Muslim, Farcana, Gulf News, Arabian Business

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Chechen casino operator in Dubai tries to hide truth

Following publication of an exclusive report titled ‘Chechen man runs online casino business in Dubai’, an individual named Julia Malakhova, claiming herself as the “PR manager representing Ilman Shazhaev and the projects he has founded” sent us an email denying allegations brought in the report. It may be mentioned here that, Julia Malakhova works in a company named ‘Input PR’, which claims to have its office at Al-Hudaiba Awards Building, Block A, 388, Al Mina Road, Jumeirah – Sheikh Hamdan Awards Complex, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, PO Box 191920.

Other members of ‘Input PR’ are: Mary Pedler (CEO), Liza Filatova (COO), Masha Tankushina (CCO), Valeriia Manuilenko (Head of Business Development), Anastasiia Ageeva (PR for startups/crypto), Vladislav Vaskin (Project Manager), and Tetiana Kamyshonova (Ukrainian national and Project Manager at Input PR). Information on two other staffs of this company namely Yely Kopan and Alexander Stoletov are missing.

Input PR on its website claims to be partners of Khaleej Times, Entrepreneur, WIRED, The Verge, The Bock, The Wall Street Journal, Arabian Business, CoinTelegraph, CoinDesk, Fortune, and Yahoo Finance.

It is now understood, ‘Input PR’ is behind publishing sponsored or paid contents promoting illegal online casino business in the United Arab Emirates.

Email from Julia Malakhova are full of lies and its made attempts of hiding criminal activities of Chechen national Ilman Shazhaev.

In the email, Malakhova wrote: “Ilman is the founder of Farcana, a project developing a shooter PC game. His company is legally registered in Dubai, has a patent in the USA, and has nothing in common with the gambling industry. There are registry documents that prove it”.

In our report, we have clearly mentioned:

According to sponsored post in the Gulf News (gulfnews.com), Arabian Business (arabianbusiness.com), and other sites, Ilman Shazhaev, who is a resident of the United Arab Emirates is a “multitasking techpreneur” who was “born and raised in the Russian republic of Chechnya, came to Dubai just three years ago before the pandemic-induced lockdown began”.

It may be mentioned here that, Chechen Muslim Ilman Shazhaev’s company Farcana does not have any office in China, Malaysia, and Russia despite his claim of having businesses in those countries. It may also be mentioned here that, gambling is strictly prohibited in China and Malaysia.

In the sponsored post, Ilman Shazhaev of Farcana is quoted saying: “When I moved here, I had already started companies in China, Malaysia, and Russia and had to run and manage my businesses remotely from Dubai”.

While Ilman Shachaev himself has states in the sponsored post in the Gulf News and Arabian Business and other sites that his company Farcana runs businesses in China, Malaysia and Russia, stating “When I moved here, I had already started companies in China, Malaysia, and Russia and had to run and manage my businesses remotely from Dubai”, his PR agency said “Ilman doesn’t provide any services in the countries mentioned above, so there are no offices there”. These two statements clearly prove, Ilman Sachaev and Input PR are trying to conceal fact.

While Julia Malakhova claims “Ilman has never provided casino service and has never promoted it”, we have specific evidence of this Chechen man running illegal online casino and betting businesses in Dubai.

About Ilham Shazaev’s sponsored interviews and posts published in the Gulf News, Arabian Business and other websites, Julia Malakhova denied the fact stating “All interviews and op-eds published on behalf of Farcana’s employees are organic and non-paid”.

Here we also stand by our claim and from our own journalistic experience of decades, we fully understand the difference between a regular interview and op-ed and sponsored/paid interview and op-ed. The contents centering Ilman Shachaev are simply promotional materials. These are not standard journalistic work. Meaning, these were published against payment. Moreover, according to the website of Input PR, it is proved, Arabian Business is its ‘partner’ meaning, this news outlet is service the purpose of this agency.

While gambling is strictly prohibited in Dubai, a large number of crypto scammers are continuing to land in the city with bundles of scam projects, including crypto scams, MLM (Multi-Level Marketing), Ponzi schemes, and gambling/gaming/betting while several UAE newspapers such as the Gulf News, Arabian Business have no shame in promoting such scammers by publishing lengthy promotional/sponsored posts.

It may be mentioned here that, Islam is the official religion of the country, pursuant to the Constitution of the UAE.  As gambling is prohibited in Islam, this forms the basis for the federal and local emirate laws that prohibit all forms of gambling, as well as the advertising of any form of gaming.

Meaning, that for any Emirati newspaper running a sponsored or paid promotional post in favor of anyone running gambling, gaming, or betting site is tantamount to legal consequences. But the unfortunate fact is, that these newspapers are continuing to violate Emirati laws while Dubai is already becoming a hub of scammers, frauds, and criminals.

Ilman Shazhaev, a 29-years-old Muslim from Chechnya, who runs an online casino/gaming site named ‘Farcana’ with an office at Downtown Dubai, Saaha Office C, Office 405, 4 floor, Dubai, UAE, and this company allows its subscribers to gamble online by using cryptocurrency. On its LinkedIn profile of Farcana, this company has clearly mentioned itself as a “Blockchain Services”, meaning, it is directly involved in the crypto sector. It also claims to have 51-200 employees, although there is no evidence of any employee in this sham project except for its owner.

According to the Gulf News and Arabian Business, Ilman Shazhaev “spent nine years at universities and combined studies”, while he is quoted saying: “I earned my Bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering at the Moscow State Technical University and my MS in engineering at Harbin Institute of Technology in China. I then started my Ph.D. program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University”.

According to a credible source, communist parties of some countries are grooming individuals like Ilman in the IT sector and later engaging them in online casino and betting businesses wherefrom accrued profits are secretly transferred to some communist party leaders and the parties.

He also said: “In my first university, I was soon promoted from a lab technician to an engineer and engaged in various projects for private companies and the government. This experience taught me to build connections between science and business, and I succeeded in winning several public grants”.

According to the sponsored post, back in 2017, Ilman Shazhaev “set up OneBoost – a digital asset management company that supplied mining equipment and built data centers in China; then expanded it to other markets and opened branches in Malaysia and Russia”.

A careful study of the above-mentioned report shall evidently prove – Ilman Shazhaev’s company Farcana is luring people, including children to make money through video gaming. Meaning, that it is clearly a gambling site, which according to Emirati law is a forbidden and punishable offense.

According to our information, the Gulf News and a few other Emirati newspapers, especially Gulf News are continuously promoting online gambling and betting sites in exchange for financial gain. We are retaining evidence against our claims and shall be able to provide such crucial evidence to the relevel authorities in the United Arab Emirates if they at all are interested in taking legal action against those Emirati newspapers and operators of online casinos, gambling, and betting sites.

Also, the Australian parliament investigates video game gambling. Earlier, following the publication of a series of exclusive investigative reports in Blitz, fraud kingpins Kamil GruntJorge Sebastiao and their cohorts started hiding information on the fraudulent ‘EcoShumi Foundation’ (Web Archive Link) website by deleting photographs and information they had earlier provided, although all such information still are available on the archive of this fraud project.

Ronju Sarkar is a Staff Correspondent of Blitz

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