There were two interesting articles published by the Ukrainian media outlet – KyivPost (semiofficial) and Ukraine Digital News (independent IT-niche news). Both mentioned Max Polyakov. Both of them pay tribute to American interest to the “IT genocide” – jargon term coined by the local press to describe ongoing indiscriminate, fruitless and murky motivated ‘searching for separatists’ at leading IT companies of Ukraine. The searches were performed by SSU (Security Service of Ukraine, something alike FBI+CIA under one hood).
There was a guess that at least some of these searches were ordered by the concurrent business companies. It is quite possible in corrupted Ukrainian everyday business life. Maksim Polyakov was named as a person who is behind at least one such rude SSU incursion in the national IT business. Here are the articles:
Nearly the same text is shown on UA Digital News:
As you can notice these pieces link to the Libertarian Republic. However as for today the article seems to be taken down by the webmaster. Reasons are unknown and we were unable to reach the Libertarian for the comment.
By applying some necromancer skills we were able to resurrect it from the dead. Behold, netizens!
Since early 2010 Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) is investigating legality of the work of IT companies. Ukrainian security forces fight against economic crimes mostly through searches. While some cases of large investigation program towards big IT-companies proved to be justified, transparent IT business was also targeted. Many leading IT-companies, among of which are Adamant, Lucky Labs, KM Core, and V.O.K.S., have suffered from increased attention of the security forces, named the ‘IT-genocide’.
For instance, in 2016 SSU officers and soldiers of Special Forces Alfa paid a visit to a group of companies Adamant to remove the equipment of one of the clients, who rented a place in the company’s server rack. But the company owner Ivan Petukhov is sure that the SSU visit was an act of pressure, and it happened because of his public activity.
Another recent story features Lucky Labs company, which was accused of financing terrorism and administering gambling business in Ukraine. Security Service of Ukraine searched the company twice – in October 2015 and in April 2016. As a matter of fact, dates of the searches surprisingly coincided with the course of litigation between the founders of the Lucky Labs and their former partner Max Polyakov. The story of Polyakov’s dishonest attitude towards his ex-partners even appeared on the pages of the authoritative American edition “The Huffington Post”. The author concluded that the SSU visit to the Lucky Labs may have been Polyakov`s instrument of pressure.
Sometimes, security forces simply come to the ‘wrong door’. On August 22, 2016 Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine conducted seizure of documents in the office of Yuarms owned by the founder of holding KM Core Evgeny Utkin. As it turned out, law enforcement officials simply ‘confused’ the address. Head of the company managed to meet on this issue with the President of Ukraine.
Petro Poroshenko himself is concerned about this state of things: “Those messages in the media we had about the searches, ‘raids’ on the IT-companies, benefit neither the state nor to the image of Ukraine in the world, nor to restoring of justice”, said Poroshenko on 6th of July 6 in 2016 while meeting with leaders of successful Ukrainian startups.
Sadly enough, while the guilt of IT-companies has been proven in none of the cases, the attempts to prove it have destroyed business reputation in most of the cases.
The 20th of September was declared ‘a day of IT in Parliament’ in 2016. But while the MPs supported four of the five relevant laws considered, including those making changes to the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine in terms of such investigative actions as a ‘search‘, Security Service made more than 10 raids in Kiev IT-companies, including office of internet provider V.O.K.S.
Indeed, the adoption of new laws regulating the activities of IT companies, gives hope to improve prospects for the industry in the Ukrainian legal field. However, it is till unclear whether representatives of the executive authorities will adhere strictly to these standards.