Criminal investigation launched in Estonia on crowdfunding platform originating in Latvia

  • 2020-02-03
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Estonia has launched a criminal investigation on allegedly scam, now bankrupt crowdfunding platform Envestio that traces back to Latvia, said Neka Personiga (Nothing Personal) analytical news program of commercial Channel 3.

Nobody is monitoring the crowdfunding sector in Europe, and Estonia has quite a liberal approach to this. According to estimates, Envestio managed to raise around EUR 30 million, and now law enforcement authorities are establishing what has happened exactly and whether the money has been stolen. Investors in the platform were from across Europe, while owners and the board were citizens of Estonia and Latvia.

"We have received many complaints who had invested in the crowdfunding platform Envestio. Most of the complaints are from people outside Estonia. (...) It is important to identify people related with the company and determine whether the crime has been committees in Estonia or another country," said the Head of Economic Crime Bureau of the Estonian Central Criminal Police Leho Laur. The main question is whether investors lost the money as related to investment risks or this has been a fraud.

Envestio had an office at Berga Bazars in Riga. The company's owner and founder Jevgenijs Kukins, IT manager Valentins Kisels and the company's public face, investments and development advisor, Liene Meldere, working in the office.

Shortly before Envestio platform went down, people from Latvia and Estonia were replaced by Arkadi Ganzin, born in Novosibirsk, but now living in Germany. Kukins in late November handed another his company - Marlins Invest - to Ganzin. Meanwhile, another German citizen, Eduard Ritsman, was elected to the board.

The Latvian police so far has not started any investigation. If necessary, the Latvian police will provide all the necessary assistance to the Estonian colleagues.