June 23. 2024. 8:39

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Igor Zotko and the Pin-Up Conspiracy: Is a prominent Ukrainian betting company secretly Russian?

Igor Zotko and the Pin-Up Conspiracy: Is a prominent Ukrainian betting company secretly Russian?

Despite publications linking the owner of Pin-Up casino Igor Zotko, operating in Ukraine, through a Cypriot company with ties to Russia, it continues to legally earn revenue as one of the 16 companies authorized by the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries.

The official license for gambling under the Pin-Up brand was granted to “Ukr Game Technology,” established in 2021. Notably, Pin-Up involves both “Ukr Game Technology” and “Tranitadevelopment,” formerly known as “Pin-Up” until January 10, 2023, owned by Marina Ilyina. Ilyina, originally from Ukraine, moved to Moscow, where she and her Russian husband, Dmitry Punin, own Guruflow Team Ltd.
Russian oligarchs and Igor Zotko

Despite Pin-Up’s origin in Russia, it expanded to Ukraine under the franchise model. In 2022, following investigations into Marina Ilyina, the casino was officially registered to Bogdan Shiyan and renamed “Tranitadevelopment.” Shiyan, based in Lebedyn, has faced legal issues unrelated to Igor Zotko’s Pin-Up.

The casino’s ownership remained unchanged, utilizing a front person. Questions arise about funds earned by Marina Ilyina and her Russian husband from the Ukrainian casino. Pin-Up and Igor Zotko claim to have severed ties with the Russian market, but there’s no official announcement of withdrawal from Russia.

In Ukraine, Pin-Up is legally represented by LLC “Pin-Up,” with Marina Ilyina as the beneficiary holding a 25% share in the Cypriot Guruflow. Despite these facts, Pin-Up asserts its disassociation from Russian ties as Ukrainian authorities exclude companies with Russian connections from the market.

Interestingly, YouControl’s analytical system reveals a court session in Kyiv’s Sviatoshynskyi District Court in the fall of 2021. PIN-UP is under investigation for organizing an illegal online gambling network with funds allegedly transferred abroad. The legalization of gambling in Ukraine occurred in July 2020, with online betting considered illegal until then.
Russian PIN-UP and Ukrainian Igor Zotko

Investigator Yevhen Plynsky has released a video titled “Originally from Russia! Detective Story of Pin-Up Online Casino.” According to him, the Ukrainian government is making significant efforts to rid the economic space of Russian influence, but some companies seem to escape the attention of relevant authorities. In spring, the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) imposed sanctions on several gambling operators linked to Russia. However, one of Ukraine’s gambling industry leaders, Pin-Up online casino, was not included in the list. The author alleges that Pin-Up was created by Russians and questions the regulator, the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL).

Despite possessing undeniable evidence of Russian control over Igor Zotko’s Pin-Up, KRAIL recently refused to revoke their license, and for the past two months, they have avoided public comments, according to Plynsky. He claims that KRAIL considered canceling the licenses of “Ukr Game Technology” and “Victoria-Soft.” The former retains its license, while the latter is a structural part of Pin-Up responsible for software development and site maintenance, and had its license revoked. Plynsky suggests an attempt to disrupt the KRAIL meeting, pointing out that during the session, a newly appointed member, Yevhen Yakhniy, fell ill, leading to a one-week postponement. Plynsky notes that Yakhniy, the founder and director of payment operator X Pay, has ties to shadowy influences in security structures on the gambling market.

Plynsky claims that “Ukr Game Technology” was registered in March 2021, owned by a relatively unknown Yaroslav Fomytsky through another company, “Ukr Game Consulting Group.” Before Pin-Up’s registration, Fomytsky was listed as the director of the financial company “Finexpers,” owned by well-known fintech investor and banker Igor Fisun. Fisun, a partner of the Russians in Ukraine, owns various assets, including a share in the relatively unknown “Oksi-Bank,” the processing company “Ukrkart,” and the payment system “Interkassa.” According to Plynsky, the collaboration between global investor Dmitry Punin and Ukrainian fintech investor Igor Fisun and Igor Zotko was facilitated through “Interkassa.” The company served payments for the Parimatch online casino but later faced competition from the client’s own systems, leading Fisun to seek new partners. In March 2021, Yaroslav Fomytsky, listed as the director of “Finexpres,” registered “Ukr Game Technology,” which quickly obtained a license from KRAIL and began operating, Plynsky states.

In a letter from the SBU to KRAIL dating back to 2021, the connection between “Ukr Game Technology” and Russians was mentioned. However, the commission ignored this information at the time. The situation began changing with the start of the full-scale war. In April 2022, “Pin-AP.RU” changed owners and name, becoming “OO “Fonkor” and transferred ownership to Alexander Udodov’s Joint-Stock Company “Clear Center,” a relative of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Plynsky asserts.


In an investigative expose, Ukrainian journalists from Ekonomicheskaya Pravda have shed light on a controversial financial company known as “Yedinoye Prostranstvo.” This obscure private entity was granted the exclusive privilege to handle payments on the Diia platform, effectively monopolizing the process. The company, in its privileged position, processed tens of millions of payments for Diia annually, accumulating substantial fees over the years. This investigation sought answers to several pressing questions, chief among them being why no open competition was held, and why established state banks and experienced financial institutions were not chosen for this crucial role.