Russian authorities have reportedly taken into custody an entrepreneur and prominent “crypto influencer” dubbed Bitmama, also referred to as the “Queen of Crypto,” on charges of fraud.
Sources, including Moskvich Magazine and Telegram-centric news channels Baza and Readovka, indicate that Valeria “Bitmama” Fedyakina was apprehended on September 15 following a fraud complaint lodged by an “associate.”
This individual alleges that Fedyakina conned him into parting with nearly $70 million.
It’s believed by the police that Fedyakina might have garnered investments from other parties under false pretenses, potentially orchestrating a “financial pyramid” scheme.
Upon these accusations surfacing, it’s reported that Fedyakina purportedly tried to abscond with the funds entrusted to her by investors.
Reports from the media outlets suggest that Fedyakina’s “disappearance” was abrupt, taking place roughly a week prior to her eventual arrest.
She had apparently assured investors of 1% returns on their invested capital with her.
Beyond her influencer role, Fedyakina is recognized as the CEO and Founder of a cryptocurrency-associated company named Holdinga.
With her “Bitmama” persona, she established a significant presence in the crypto influencer realm. She gathered an impressive audience with nearly 55,000 followers on Instagram and an additional 7,000 on X (Twitter).
Notably, her last activity on Instagram was a post shared about two weeks back.
A notable post on her social media profile indicates that she was scheduled to be a speaker at an event in Moscow on September 16.
Presently, her company’s website seems to be inactive, and her last update on X (Twitter) was in April of this year. Another site associated with her signature Bitmama brand is also currently inaccessible.
Multiple media sources have pointed out that Fedyakina was in her sixth month of pregnancy when she was arrested. They further note that, if found guilty, she could be looking at a sentence of up to 10 years.
The decision by law enforcement to arrest her was likely influenced by concerns that she might attempt to flee. As of now, Fedyakina is being kept in a pre-trial detention facility, awaiting her court appearance.
Who Is Russian ‘Crypto Queen’ Valeria Fedyakina?
Bitmama, widely recognized in the crypto community, identifies as a resident of the UAE, with Dubai prominently marked as her base on her various social media accounts.
Earlier this year, Fedyakina’s entrepreneurial prowess was acknowledged when she was spotlighted as one of the “10 Innovative And Driven Women Entrepreneurs to Follow in 2023” by the International Business Times.
Her influential status also garnered her coverage in English-language publications, including a feature in the Arabian Post.
At 28, Fedyakina has been outspoken about the potential of cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions, especially pertinent to Russians. Sources indicate she collaborated with a clientele that predominantly consisted of affluent individuals.
According to Moskvich Magazine, Fedyakina has a longstanding history of engagement with crypto exchanges. The publication highlighted her modus operandi: “She typically collects cash payments from her clients and facilitates overseas fund withdrawals, all for a commission.”
Fedyakina has purportedly asserted her extensive network of affiliations, boasting ties with both private businesses and government-owned enterprises.
The magazine further reported that Bitmama’s operations saw a “daily turnover” amounting to “tens of millions of dollars.”
In a related development from earlier this month, law enforcement in Russia’s Far East took into custody a cryptocurrency miner. This individual is suspected of illicitly tapping directly into the local power grid, causing significant disruptions and “large-scale” damage.