The Russian Federal Customs Services has initiated an investigation against crypto mining firm the Far-East Trading and Industrial Company (DTPK) under the suspicion of underpayment of custom fees while importing mining devices.
According to a Coindesk report, the digital currency mining company avoided paying around $1.2 million in customs fees while importing 6,012 ASIC miners between August 2017 to February 2018. All the devices were manufactured by Bitmain and include models like Antminer S9-13.5, L3+ and D3.
The Moscow-based company is also accused of falsifying documents to customs officers with incorrect prices of the crypto mining machines.
According to the submitted documents, DTPK purchased the ASIC miners from MSR Co., a Korean company, through Hong Kong-based Manli. However, the Korean firm denied doing any business with the Russian mining company.
“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 warrant stated.
The investigation was made public during the TerraCrypto mining conference in Moscow on July 25.
Alexander Shashkov, the founder of Intelion Mining, said customs officers suspected the DTPK-imported miners ended up at his company’s data center and sent armed personnel to his offices in two Russian cities as recently as July 18.
Shashkov told the audience:
“In Tula, 20 people with machine guns arrived; in Moscow, 10 people without machine guns, just pistols. … [They] told everyone to get their hands off the computers.”
According to him, Intelion had nothing to do with the miners under investigation, but law enforcement ended up seizing 2,500 ASICs hosted by the company anyway because the clients who owned them hadn’t presented valid documentation.
He followed the story with advice for fellow mining entrepreneurs to always check the documents for the miners they take for hosting.
A representative from Intelion also revealed that 70 percent of the Chinee crypto mining devices acquired by Russian firms under grey schemes.
Bitmain also confirmed the estimation as its Russian representative Yulia Fetisova said: “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.”