Advcash, a high-risk payment processor known for its secretive operations and complex ownership structures, has recently undergone significant operational changes. This report delves into the rebranding of Advcash to Volet, its departure from Belize, and the establishment of new legal entities to facilitate its services. Additionally, it examines the processor’s ties to high-risk jurisdictions, its connections to the U.S., European involvements, and ongoing investigations related to its activities.

Rebranding and Jurisdictional Shift

Advcash renames into Volet with new legal entitiy

On March 12, 2024, Advcash announced its rebranding to Volet, effective from March 26, 2024, transitioning from the domain Advcash.com to Volet.com. This move accompanies a strategic departure from Belize, citing the jurisdiction’s inadequacy for crypto business operations. Advcash will henceforth operate through two new entities: Queensland Foreign Exchange Inc. in Canada and Second February Limited in the Seychelles.

Operational Changes

Previously operated by Advanced Cash Limited in Belize, Advcash‘s services are now divided between:

  • Queensland Foreign Exchange Inc.: A Canadian entity regulated by FINTRAC, focusing on money service business operations, including credit/debit card deposits in cooperation with Unlimit, a licensed e-money institution in Cyprus.
  • Second February Limited: Based in Seychelles, facilitating cryptocurrency purchases, indicating a strategic diversification of operations across jurisdictions with distinct regulatory landscapes.
  • No bank deposits: We also discovered that deposits via bank transfer were not available at least on the day of our review on March 18, 2024. Previously, bank transfers were processed via the Lithuanian EMI Majestic Financial UAB.

Connections and Controversies

  • Russian Market Presence: Despite sanctions, Advcash maintains a significant business volume with Russian clients. Founders Artem Abramov and Artem Shulepov have been historically linked as beneficial owners, with Shulepov now presumed to be the primary owner following Abramov’s alleged death.
  • U.S. Ties: Yaacov Bitton, associated with Advcash since 2012, has real estate and business ties in the U.S., indicating an operational footprint contrary to official statements of non-operation in the country.
  • European Footprint: Advcash’s involvement in Malta and subsequent expansion via ADV2 in Canada and Lithuania underlines its strategic positioning within the EU. Estonian nationals Olga Belova and Natalja Kauzova, along with their connections to now-defunct entities and current regulatory scrutiny, play pivotal roles in its European and Canadian operations.

Investigations and Implications

Advcash is allegedly under investigation in the United States for activities potentially related to money laundering and sanctions circumvention, particularly in connection with Binance. This scrutiny is part of broader efforts by international law enforcement to address compliance and regulatory evasion by high-risk payment processors.

Conclusion

The evolution of Advcash from a Belize-based entity to its current incarnation as Volet, along with its strategic operational and jurisdictional shifts, highlights the complex and often opaque world of high-risk payment processing. While attempting to navigate regulatory landscapes, the processor’s connections to high-risk jurisdictions, ongoing investigations, and historical ties to controversial figures underscore the challenges and risks inherent in the sector. As regulatory scrutiny intensifies, the future of entities like Advcash will likely be shaped by their ability to adapt to a rapidly evolving global financial ecosystem.

Recommendations

  • For Regulators: Enhanced international cooperation and information sharing to monitor and regulate high-risk payment processors effectively.
  • For Financial Institutions: Increased due diligence when engaging with entities linked to high-risk payment processors, particularly those with significant changes in operational jurisdictions and ownership structures.
  • For Consumers: Vigilance and thorough research before engaging with payment processors, especially those with a history of regulatory warnings or involvement in high-risk jurisdictions.

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