As Kommersant learned, the Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia (GSU SKR) in Moscow completed an investigation into the criminal case on the organization of the largest underground casino network in the history of modern Russia. The Panorama system, which included several dozen clubs with slot machines, roulette tables and poker games, has been operating in the capital for three years. Its financial turnover can not be accounted for, but certainly in the billions - in any case, the shadow business allowed its owner to build legal casinos and shopping centers. 68 people are accused in the criminal community.
According to investigators, the shadow gambling empire was organized by Anton Bazhanov, a 45-year-old native of St. Petersburg, a professional poker player and at the same time a businessman with extensive experience in “creating and managing legal casinos”. He moved to the capital at the end of 2015, rented an office in the City of Capitals tower, Moscow City, and acquired Panorama LLC, which had a license for bookmaking and sweepstakes, through affiliated merchants. At the same time, Mr. Bazhanov, as follows from the prosecution, selected a team of specialists in organizing gambling; by his order, they rented premises in different areas of the city, bought playground equipment and hired maintenance staff. The organizer at the first stage completely took upon himself the financing of the project - so several dozen underground gambling halls appeared in the capital.
Since gambling is banned in Russia, the clubs decided to hide in the bookmakers operating under the signs of Panorama-owned brands: Winline, Unionbet and Greenbet.
According to participants in the investigation, their employees accepted bets on sports events that were allowed by law, declared revenues, and reported to tax authorities. Moreover, in the room adjacent to the tote, separated from it by a bar counter or an inconspicuous door, there were “forbidden” computers. The Gslot and GamingBox programs installed on them, as later determined by the expert examination, essentially transformed an ordinary-looking terminal into a “gaming machine with payment of cash rewards”, similar to the popular models manufactured by Novomatic AG (Austria) or Igrosoft LLC (Russia).
The client saw on the monitor rotating reels with pictures, a virtual keyboard simulating control keys of the machine, and the amount transferred to the administrator before the start of the game. Depending on the combination of pictures that fell out, the deposit made by the player increased or decreased, which, for obvious reasons, happened much more often.
An institution called “Savok” with 33 automatic computers was opened by Anton Bazhanov in the territory of the Savelovsky computer market. In an elite residential complex on Mosfilmovskaya Street, near the North Korean Embassy, the Sever Club with 20 gaming terminals has appeared. Sufferers could try their luck on Zubovsky Boulevard, Zelenogradskaya, Novokosinskaya and Bakuninskaya streets, and the largest gambling establishment with 66 computers was located on Lublin Street and was obviously oriented towards numerous merchants from the neighboring Sadovod market and the Moscow trade fair complex .
Even then, according to the investigation, the turnover of the gambling network could be calculated in six-digit numbers; it was impossible to more accurately calculate the income of the shadow business, since only the work of the bookmakers was officially declared. The profit of gambling halls, according to witnesses, was formed in plastic bags, which were collected by the main collector of the network, Alexander Kudayarov, at night. In the trunk of a car, he transported cash to one of two additional Panorama offices - on Novosuschevskaya Street and Tsvetnoy Boulevard. In them, the investigation believes, the chief accountant Natalya Davydova formed the “cash desk”, which was controlled only by Anton Bazhanov.