Coingaming Group: The Money Laundering Hive of Crypto (Pt. 1)
Many in this space that follow Zerononcense, have seen posts that mention an entity named ‘Coingaming Group’ — but there are few that are aware of who Coingaming Group actually is.
Thus, the purpose of this post will be to dissect Coingaming Group and how they play a much larger role in the grand scheme of fraud that is taking place in the cryptosphere.
How Did Coingaming Group Come on the Radar?
Coingaming Group’s existence only became known to Zerononcense via mere circumstance during an independent investigation conducted by one of Zerononcense’s staff members.
Specifically, Zerononcense did not become fully aware of Coingaming Group until a few months ago, when Zerononcense performed an in-depth analysis of HitBTC’s Bitcoin reserves.
What made Coingaming Group’s presence stand out were the noted, substantial transactions between Coingaming Group and HitBTC.
This observation was made using Crystal Blockchain Software.
Check out the picture below (from the original report):
The picture above shows HitBTC receiving 288,391 bitcoins from an entity labeled as ‘Coingaming.io’ by Crystal’s platform.
Obviously, such a substantial amount of bitcoins being transferred from one entity to HitBTC, specifically, out of the universe of alternative exchange options, demanded greater scrutiny from Zerononcense.
For this report, we’re going to go ahead and take a closer look at Coingaming.io and its associated Bitcoin wallet, specifically.
Specifically, this report seeks to answer the following questions:
- Why does Coingaming(.)io would have access to such a significant store of funds?
- Why would Coingaming(.)io made the conscious choice to send a substantial bulk of those funds to HitBTC (out of all exchanges)?
- ‘Who’ is Coingaming(.)io and how are we able to positively classify this entity?
- Where is Coingaming(.)io located?
And several other relevant items.
Background Behind Coingaming
Before diving in headfirst with a blockchain analysis, we’re going to first answer the question of, ‘Who is Coingaming(.)io?’
To be clear, Coingaming(.)io refers to the entity’s web domain address.
However, the name that this entity is doing business as currently is ‘The Coingaming Group’.
What Do They Do?
The next logical question this report must answer is, ‘What is Coingaming Group?’
The answer to that question is simple — Coingaming Group is a gambling/gaming site operator (gaming = gambling in this sense).
The ‘about’ page of the website [Coingaming(.)io] provides a bit more information about the exact nature of Coingaming Group’s existence:
Notably, the group owns the following betting platforms:
Coingaming CEO — Tim Heath
Specifically, the CEO of Coingaming is an individual named, ‘Tim Heath’.
This is corroborated in numerous sources, including Coingaming themselves.
Interestingly, there is little additional substantive information about its actual location or base of operations, but what little is available will play a pivotal role in our investigation moving forward in this piece.
Licensing Information for Coingaming Group
Numerous public sources have identified Curacao as the central location where Coingaming Group’s licenses are held.
In specific, the website, ‘igamingsuppliers’ (website does not have a certificate, use caution before visiting) attests to Coingaming Group’s license being here:
Fortunately, more concrete information about Coingaming(.)io’s license can be found via an archived version of their website (see below):
It is worth noting that this entity is a Silver Member of the Bitcoin Foundation, which would have cost them approx. 500 bitcoins at the time that Coingaming allegedly had the opportunity to pay for such a distinction:
Going back to the screenshot from Coingaming’s (archived) website, the text on the furthest right portion of the screen states:
Upon visiting the linked license number in the picture above, the following page is provided:
The relevant information above tells us that mBet Solutions N.V. is the parent company for Coingaming Group (as one of the cited sources in this report attest), and that the authority responsible for providing Coingaming Group’s license is the Government of Curacao.
However, the page above is merely a screenshot from an archived snapshot of the license, taken in 2015.
Thus, in order to validate this information, we will see if we can ascertain the license status of Coingaming Group and all affiliated subsidiaries (listed above) in the next section.
Validating License Information for Coingaming Group and All Affiliated Subsidiaries
The website responsible for validating the license information of registered gaming entities in Curacao is https://validator.curacao-egaming.com
Below is more information about this validation process:
Starting with Sportsbet(.)io
At the time of writing, sportsbet(.)io’s website states that it is licensed by the Government of Curaçao.
The information above is pretty explicit and unequivocal. However, the government of Curaçao has not validated any of this information.
In fact, their website specifically indicates that sportsbet.io’s license can no longer be verified at this point in time.
According to Bitcasino’s website, at the time of writing, they are a legitimate, fully-licensed entity:
However, similar to Sportsbet(.)io, it appears that Bitcasino’s license is also invalid currently:
What is troubling, however, is the footer picture for bitcasino(.)io on one of the subpages of their website underneath the ‘help terms and conditions’ section (see below):
If one looks closer, it can be seen that the ‘seal’ for eGaming (provided by the validator website), is showing that the license for Bitcasino is valid at this point in time:
As a refresher see the following validation guide, provided on the curacao-egaming website:
According to the guide above, Bitcasino’s logo on their site is indicating that they are in good standing, when they clearly aren’t.
Strangely, upon clicking on the seal, a version of the Curacao eGaming License Validation website comes up that states that the license for Bitcasino is valid :
Further sifting around the website strongly indicates that there may be tampering of some sort on the part of bitcasino(.)io to render a webpage that displays a valid gaming license in Curacao.
What the Hell is Going On?
In order to figure that out, the next best course of action to take would be investigating mBet Solutions N.V., the entity that allegedly serves as the parent company for Coingaming(.)io, bitcasino(.)io, sportsbet, and all other affiliated entities (there are numerous).
A cursory search takes us to a bitcointalk post by Bitcasino that outlines some of the facets of the mBet Solutions enterprise:
A deeper look into mBet Solutions N.V. takes us to the Offshore Leaks Database.
This lead takes us to two individuals of interest:
A) Antonius Andrianus Simonis
B) Vivian V. Ersilia
Antonius Andrianus Simonis
A search for Antonius Andrianus Simonis takes us to the U.K. business records at beta.companieshouse.gov.uk.
Specifically, it can be seen that Antonius was once the director of a company called, ‘Arsinoe Investments Company Limited (00964663)’.
A search on Arsinoe Investments Company Limited (00964663) takes us to Intertrust (Curacao) BV:
Notably, in the above listing, there is an address that is associated with the company in question — Intertrust (Curacao) BV:
This address takes us back to the Offshore Leaks:
Below is a further expanded node chart:
Notably, the name that is directly connected to this address is an individual named ‘Gregory Elias’.
Who is Gregory Elias?
Gregory Elias is the owner of United International Bank N.V. (Netherlands), so this connection is fairly massive.
Several reports online, including a long-form piece by Krebsonsecurity, have exposed the improprieties of a program called epassporte, a well-known scam attached to an individual named ‘Christopher Mallick’.
Gregory Elias was attached to the company as the primary banker (see below):
There are other notable aspects of Gregory Elias’ background that this report could dig into, that it will refrain from doing for the time being.
The additional connections will be shelled out in a later issue.
Vivian V. Ersilia
The only other individual attached to mBet Solutions N.V. directly in the Panama papers is Vivian V. Ersilia.
An initial search shows an emphasis on the company name, ‘CMS Trust N.V.’:
Curiously, there is a holding company attached to this entity called, ‘Goldville Holdings Limited’, which has two companies titled:
A) Worff Securities Limited
B) Cotillion Trust Company Limited
Ties to Tallinn, Estonia
One of the means of investigation for Coingaming that will provide the most fruitful results is researching their ties to Tallinn, Estonia.
Finding these links is somewhat difficult, but fortunately, Zerononcense has taken the liberty of doing so in order to alleviate the burden of all future researchers attempting to undergo the same endeavor.
Why are We Looking at Tallinn, Estonia?
For those that have been following, this is a solid question to ask.
After all, the bulk of this report has been spent establishing whether or not Coingaming and its affiliated subsidiaries actually have a legitimate license in Curacao.
However, it appears that while Coingaming Group claimed that its gaming subsidiaries were licensed in Curcacao, it has simultaneously claimed to be headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia.
Let’s go ahead and re-review what public reporting is available to corroborate this information:
However, if one were to look in the Estonian business records for an entity called ‘Coingaming Group’, ‘Coingaming’, or any subsequent variation, they would have a hard time identifying such an organization.
So, let’s see what hints can be found that will key us in to where Coingaming may be located.
A search for Coingaming OÜ (the common suffix for Estonian companies) yields fruitful results, see below:
A cursory search gives us the names:
- Maarja Pärt
- Heathmont OÜ
From the LinkedIn preview in the excerpted Google Search results above, we can tell that Maarja Pärt is the COO (Chief Operating Officer) at the Coingaming Group.
Searching for Maarja Pärt takes us to a few Estonian registries that have her information (i.e., companies registered and associated with).
The first one we’ll look at is the website, inforegister(.)ee
Under Maarja Pärt’s profile, we can see the following companies are registered to her:
A more concise list can be found on the website ‘teatmik.ee’, which provides a better UI (without a paywall) for Estonian company information.
Taking a Look at Heathmont Group OÜ
Upon clicking on the company, Heathmont Group OÜ, the following information is provided:
Notably, all of the affiliated individuals are also attached to Coingaming Group.
Timothy Heath (Listed as the CEO)
Reio Pillar (Lead Developer for Coingaming(.)io)
Public reporting as well as Reio Pillar’s GitHub itself strongly supports that he is the CTO and Lead Developer for Coingaming.
Below is Reio’s GitHub account as well:
Interestingly, Raido Purga is in the role of ‘Business Development Manager’ for Coingaming Group:
The affiliation with the head of eSports is definitely worthy of note here since eSports is an international success in the video gaming world, with billions of dollars total, accrued over its life span. In many respects, eSports is seen as the focal point of advancement in the video game world.
The other individual named in the article above, Dias Ismailov, is closely attached with Coingaming Group (see below):
Public reporting shows that Dias Ismailov was the primary individual responsible for brokering the partnership between Coingaming Group (via Sportsbet(.)io) and ‘HellRaisers’, a popular and successful eSports gaming team:
Without digging too deep into that rabbit hole, let’s pan out for a second.
Heathmont Group OÜ = Coingaming Group
Let’s take a look at the registered directors for Heathmont again:
As noted above, every single one of these individuals is attached to Coingaming Group in an executive role, including Maarja Pärt, the lead that brought us to Heathmont in the first place.
Most notably, Timothy John Heath, the CEO of Coingaming Group is included as one of the directors of Heathmont as well.
In total, we have the COO, CEO, CTO, and Lead Business Developer of Coingaming Group in the executive structure of Heathmont.
So, the next question we must ask ourselves is — ‘Why have we never heard of Heathmont?’
A Quick Look at the Business Relationships of All Affiliated Individuals
Here are the business relationships that are attached to Maarja Part:
Here are the business relationships that are attached to Timothy Heath:
Here are the business relationships that are attached to Reio Pillar:
Here are the business relationships that are attached to Raido Purga:
The purpose of this piece is to serve as the background to establish significance to the name and entity ‘Coingaming Group’.
The next piece that will follow-up on Coingaming Group will look at the extremely odd blockchain behavior associated with this entity.
It will also remark on how investigation into Coingaming Group resulted in Zerononcense having to permanently terminate its relationship with Crystal Blockchain Software due to observed manipulation of their software’s identification mechanism for Coingaming Group after being informed by Zerononcense of the troubling transactions associated with the group.