Police clarify details of foreigner-led usury network

In connection with the case of the 'Usury Network' led by foreigners charging an interest rate of nearly 2,000 percent, the Criminal Police Department (C02) under the Ministry of Public Security has clarified numerous relevant details.

Bugaevskiy Tymur at the police station

Most employees are highly educated

According to Senior Lieutenant Colonel Le Vinh Tung, Deputy Chief of the C02, the Ministry of Public Security has noted a transition in loan sharking operations from conventional to high-tech methods. Provinces and municipalities implementing this directive have effectively dismantled numerous large-scale criminal networks. As a result, usury criminals have employed various tactics to evade detection, posing challenges to investigative efforts.

Regarding the recent crackdown on the usury network led by Katerynchyk Roman, born in 1986, Ukrainian nationality, offering interest rates of nearly 2,000 percent, law enforcement faced significant challenges. This was due to the group being led by foreigners with ties to Vietnamese individuals, operating under the facade of businesses, and extensively utilizing technology for large-scale usury operations.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Le Vinh Tung disclosed that this syndicate had operated for a long time, employing a meticulously structured process and specialized expertise in each stage, utilizing cunning tactics. The majority of operations are automated through a pre-programmed CRM system, including loan assessment and approval procedures.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Le Vinh Tung shares details about the investigation.

The suspects constantly alter their identities and establish multiple companies, dividing them into various departments to camouflage their illegal activities, posing challenges for investigative work. Network members are educated individuals with clean criminal records, making detection extremely difficult.

Among them, Le Thanh Huynh Cang, born in 1971, residing in Thu Duc District, holds a bachelor's degree, Nguyen Thi Nhat Phuong, born in 1990, residing in District 4, has previously worked as a lecturer in the Marketing Faculty at a university, and another individual is skilled in IT.

Deputy Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department (C02) shared that during the investigative process, the police identified Bugaevskiy Tymur, born in 1990, and Kravchuk Iryna, born in 1985, both Ukrainian nationals, as directly involved in management and operations, and as trusted associates of Katerynchyk Roman.

Police take Bugaevskiy's statement.

On March 21, under the leadership of the C02, coordinated efforts with various law enforcement units of the Ministry of Public Security, Ho Chi Minh City Police, and Khanh Hoa Police resulted in the simultaneous arrest and search operations at the premises of four companies in Ho Chi Minh City and Khanh Hoa Province.

These companies include IXORA Trading and Service Limited Liability Company, Loc Tin Service Limited Liability Company, CACTUS Consulting Service Limited Liability Company, and VINEX Service Limited Liability Company. Law enforcement officials summoned 63 individuals linked to the case and temporarily seized 68 laptops, 7 CPUs, tablets, and nearly 100 mobile phones, among other items. Furthermore, the authorities took measures to freeze the bank accounts associated with the four aforementioned companies.

On March 21, the C02 led and coordinated with specialized units from the Ministry of Public Security, Ho Chi Minh City Police, and Khanh Hoa Provincial Police to carry out simultaneous arrests and searches at the headquarters of four companies in Ho Chi Minh City and Khanh Hoa.

These companies include IXORA Trading and Services Company Limited, Loc Tin Services Company Limited, CACTUS Consulting Services Company, and VINEX Services Company. Police summoned 63 individuals involved and temporarily seized 68 laptops, seven CPUs, tablets, and nearly 100 mobile phones. Additionally, authorities froze the accounts of the aforementioned four companies.

Customer enticement tactics

The investigation identified that in 2019, Roman entered Vietnam and founded Loi Tin Trading and Service Limited Liability Company. Roman colluded with a group of Vietnamese individuals, including Cang and Phuong, to operate a usury scheme through the Oncredit application and the website Oncredit.asia.com.

In 2023, witnessing the vigorous enforcement actions against loan sharking groups by Vietnamese authorities, and in April 2023, when Loi Tin Company underwent an administrative inspection by the interdisciplinary working group of the Thu Duc District People's Committee, Roman chose to leave Vietnam. Concurrently, Roman directed Cang and Phuong to halt the operations of Loi Tin Company.

Afterward, this group established the four aforementioned companies to operate a closed high-interest lending process. They also developed the EasyCard application to run in parallel with the Oncredit application. Roman directed Tymur and Iryna to enter Vietnam to manage the system and oversee the technical processes of the four companies, while Roman directed and operated from abroad through software.

Police interrogate Kravchuk Iryna.

According to C02, in 2019, Roman provided Cang with $400,000 to kick-start lending operations. In April 2023, Roman directed Loc Tin Company to continue receiving $11 million from SCA Company in Singapore and TAS Bank in Cyprus.

When borrowers need a loan, they must download the EasyCash.vn and Oncredit.vn applications or visit the Oncredit.vn website to complete the required information and apply for the loan. The initial borrowing limit is a maximum of VND500,000, with a repayment period of less than five days and no interest or fees charged to attract customers, competing with other applications.

For subsequent loan applications, these suspects use software to evaluate the borrower's credibility points. The system automatically approves loans ranging from VND5 million to VND20 million, with repayment periods from five to 30 days. In cases where the system raises an alert, these suspects communicate with customers through telecommunication networks and conduct direct checks.

"These companies entice customers with zero percent interest rates, but upon borrowing, customers incur very high fees. There is a case where a customer who borrowed VND8.4 million from October 2022 to the present has already paid over VND56 million but still owes VND20 million," shared Senior Lieutenant Colonel Tung.

As of now, the police have identified that this group has extended loans to hundreds of thousands of customers, charging interest rates ranging from 365 percent to 1,971 percent per annum, resulting in illicit profits amounting to trillions of Vietnamese dong. Roman has utilized these funds to cover employee salaries, sustain company operations, and transfer money overseas.

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