A custom-ordered attack on businessmen, with whom the businessman of Ukrainian origin Max Polyakov is litigating, led to the dismissal of a major official of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU).
There was information in Ukrainian media that the management of the economic counterintelligence of the SSU, which was headed by Sergei Semochko, was mired in corruption. Radio Liberty reported on that in a special investigation in the “Schemes” project. The journalists discovered very expensive cars in ownership of Semochko’s subordinates, in particular, the SSU’s employee Mr. Krys’ko. A well-known anti-corruption investigating web portal “Nashi groshi” (ed., Our Money) also reported that Semochko may be involved in corruption in the issue of blocking popular among Ukrainians anti-cold medical drugs ‘Strepsils’. The journalists also compiled the history of searches authorized by Semochko that are suspected to have been custom-ordered, including the search in the Ukrainian company Lucky Labs.
Shortly after the investigation Sergei Semochko was dismissed from the post of head of the economic counterintelligence department, and on 3rd of May he was demoted and transferred to the SSU’s regional department for Kyiv region. This might mean a start of official investigation into his activities, including the search in Lucky Labs.
Ukrainian media named Max Polyakov the one who ordered the searches conducted by the SSU in the offices of company Lucky Labs. According to Huffington Post, Max Polyakov deceived his former partners Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev with offering them Phoenix Holdings ltd. shares (the company manages dating project Together Networks) as compensation for the share in the joint project. However, he intentionally overestimated their true value and remained silent about the presence of two more partners in the project. Gilfanov and Tokarev sued Polyakov in the British Virgin Islands court, demanding compensation of 12 million USD. In response, a custom-ordered attack against Lucky Labs, the foundation of which was supported by Gilfanov and Tokarev, was launched in Ukraine. The SSU’s searches, street protests and custom-ordered publications in media were widely used in the campaign. As assumed by Huffington Post, the organization of pressure on Max Polyakov’s opponents involved not only Ukrainian security officials, but also politicians, in particular, Max Polyakov’s partner Maxim Krippa, a member of Kyiv municipal council from the party “Samopomich”. Political and security structures pressure resulted into a dubious decision on the sanctions against Gilfanov and Tokarev, which they had already challenged in Ukrainian court. Huffington Post also wrote that Polyakov was repeatedly accused of trying to pressure partners with dirty methods: in particular, the division of his business with a former partner in the dating project Cupid Plc, an investor Bill Dobbie, led to the scandal. After Mr.Dobbie got into contradictions with his partner Max Polyakov, an artificial media scandal broke out, and the share price of Cupid Plc fell, which caused Bill Dobbie to part with the shares for a pittance, giving them up to Polyakov.
Nowadays Max Polyakov is positioning himself as an American businessman. His assets are collected under umbrella brand Noosphere Ventures, however, he is supposed to get most of the revenue from the dating business, in particular, Cupid Plc. Corruption lobbying, bribery of officials in Ukraine and other countries is contrary to the USA law and may entail more fines, imprisonment and other restrictions.