The Ukrainian investment market has experienced numerous shocks and transformations over a period of independence. Crises, happening locally and around the world, revolutions, changes in vectors of development have led to the situation that today, after 29 years passed, this sector of the Ukrainian economy doesn’t look like an attractive spectacle. This does not prevent its flagships from keeping afloat confidently enough and looking into the future with inexhaustible optimism.
We are talking about the investment company Concorde Capital and its founder Igor Mazepa. Concorde Capital has existed since 2004 and is unshakable, despite any hardships. What is the success of the company? Is it in professional qualities of its leader or his ability to build the «right» schemes and survive at any cost under any authority? Let’s try to figure it out.
The titular chairperson or a successful businessman?
Igor Mazepa is a graduate of Kiev Institute of Economics. He has two higher educations, economic and legal, and experience in the investment field for 20 years. It sounds pretty good, but in fact, the young man began with buying vouchers on the cheap from common people and groups of enterprises. Then, there was also a practice of managing a more solid investment company, but Igor Mazepa did not stay there for a long time, unable to meet expectations of the owner. As a result, he had to go back to his first boss, being promoted though.
2004 becomes a pivotal moment for Mazepa’s career. He opens own firm Concorde Capital. Rumor is that up to now he is just a titular chairman in it, and, in fact, other, more serious people, who wish to remain in the shadow, are at the helm.
There is some truth in these rumors, as many aspects spawn doubts.
Firstly, why would Igor Mazepa take a risk of investing all his money in a new company, if he is doing so well? He holds the post of director of an investment company, high salaries and even a small block of shares.
Secondly: the founding of Concorde Capital coincides surprisingly with the Orange Revolution period and the start of a large redistribution of property.
Thirdly, having a reputation of a big spender, Igor Mazepa opens a firm with scanty investment funds of 50 thousand dollars, but in a couple of years, he earns a quarter of a billion on a streak of successful transactions! Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would envy such rapid success.
In three months only, Concorde Capital becomes the leader of trading in the Ukrainian stock exchange PFTS, which has just resumed operation after being idle. Igor Mazepa’s company does not trade for its money, but for the means of depositors whose names are not voiced. But it is obvious that the customers of Concorde Capital are connected with the first Maidan. In line with unconfirmed reports, one of them is the famous “Ternopil raider” Vladimir Palikhata.
Not all but a small part from the millions of profits are due to Concorde Capital and Igor Mazepa, but this is still a huge amount of money for a banker who for the previous 7 years was able to collect only 50 thousand dollars.
In 2006, Igor Mazepa’s profits become even greater after he buys back the shares from his companion John Saggit. Then by the same token, John opens his own investment company with a similar name “Dragon Capital”. Curiously, Saggit was not the only shareholder besides Mazepa. Already after the second Maidan, journalists will find in the list of the owners of Concorde Capital British and Australian citizens and even a Hong Kong resident who bought out part of the company’s shares through Cyprus offshore.
Igor Mazepa leaves his family for a sect
Big money leads Igor Mazepa into the sect. He takes a deep interest in ontopsychology and Scientology, and becomes a member of the “Church of Scientology”, which professes the “chosenness” of its adepts, raising them above the “mere mortals”. Igor Mazepa becomes so imbued with sectarian ideas that he is trying to make a sect out of his corporate team, demanding from his people around-the-clock commitment and arranging regular «workshops.»
But if the team has survived, the businessman’s family has not. In 2007, his wife Tatyana Zdanevich, tired of putting up with the new mania of her husband and his claims that after 7 years a child does not need a mother, leaves Igor Mazepa. Tatyana files for divorce and division of property, but the greedy and vindictive Igor Mazepa gets ahead of her. He arranges a one-sided process of divorce in one of the district courts of the Luhansk region, although both spouses live in Kiev. Based on the decision of the local court, Tatiana gets from her ex-husband only 2000 UAH per month of alimony, namely 25% of his salary in Concorde Capital.
If a person so cynically acts with his family, it is easy to imagine what strangers are for him. So, in this case, Igor Mazepa is not surprising at all.
Over the time of existence of Concorde Capital, the firm successfully buys up the shares of Ukrainian enterprises on the order of oligarchs, participates in their pressing, does not scorn economic espionage and cheating investors with the help of financial pyramids.
The collapse of the pyramid: PrivateFX—Forex Trend 2.0
In the year of 2015, Igor Mazepa takes part in a grandiose scam called “PrivateFX” by a well-known fraudster and swindler Pavel Krymov. He, in particular, is famous for creating HYPE projects under the guise of companies of the forex market and investment funds that operate for a short time (usually 2-3 years) and then scam (scam – a fraudulent scheme; swindle; an investment instrument which has ceased to execute its obligations before depositors).
“Forex Trend” has turned out to be the pinnacle of Krymov’s “mastery”. It had been working for 5 years, succeeded to attract more than 50 thousand investors, millions of dollars, had an official broker license in the Forex market and at first, really took out transactions on the interbank currency exchange. Sports celebrities Oleksandr Usyk and Vasily Lomachenko took part in advertising of Forex Trend, cars with FT banners drove around Ukrainian cities, stock analysts wrote about it, predicting a great future, the number of customers wishing to invest in appealing tools grew from day to day until… the pyramid collapsed.
Numerous duped investors demanded the company’s directorship to return the money, but the withdrawal was stopped. The SSU made a broad statement that Forex Trend was sponsoring terrorists in the Donbass region with the participation of Putin’s friend, biker Zaldostanov, known as “Surgeon”. The statement of the SSU actually sounded like a verdict and, translated into a language comprehensible to everyone, meant “You can kiss your money good-bye”.
But the story continued. Igor Mazepa declares the launch of a new project “PrivateFX”. Within its framework, there is announced a campaign for saving investors of Forex Trend «1 + 1». PrivateFX offers to return the money to all the customers of the bankrupt company who did not manage to withdraw their funds in time. The only condition required is the replenishment of the account for the same amount. Therefore, the deceived investors are actually duped again, but this time thanks to the assurance and prestige of Igor Mazepa trusted by many people. “PrivateFX” ceases to pay funds to customers after two years, and even during these two years works mostly on depositing and not the withdrawing of funds.
To disclaim responsibility for his actions, Igor Mazepa swiftly sells “PrivateFX” to an offshore company “PrimeBroker”, and this project is declared to be fruitless and unproductive. For credulous and self-centered investors, we can quote the famous proverb “Not all that glitters is gold”. After all, how could anybody believe Igor Mazepa, who not only cooperated with the real swindler Krymov but never disdained for “dirty money”, for example, from the LNR and the DNR?
Igor Mazepa’s «TYME» – a «wallet» for terrorists
When the military involvement in the Donbass region begins, an economic blockade of the occupied territories is introduced by the government, thereby taking away from their residents of the possibility to receive and convey funds from/to Ukraine. Just like as in the case of Forex Trend, in two years there appears Igor Mazepa, the “savior”. He buys out “OMP-2013” company from Qiwi, the Russian payment system, and arranges a network of its payment terminals on the territory of ORDLO (isolated districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions).
Even accusations of the public in sponsoring separatism didn’t stop the businessman, who was led by an itch for gain. Though, the community considered his company OMP-2013 to be the purse of terrorists. To decrease the tension, Igor Mazepa creates a new brand “TYME” which, actually, still is the same Ukrainian sector of Qiwi, but with another name. Now the transfer of funds between Ukraine and ORDLO is performed through a third man, the Turkish company “UPT”. But the Turks quickly understand that they are involved in deception, and Igor Mazepa has to establish a new channel with Kuwait. It is obvious that a businessman could not pull this large-scale scheme all by himself.
And now it is a proper moment to recall the grateful customers of Concord Capital, to whom the company has repeatedly provided rather squeamish services. Along with such names as Rinat Akhmetov, Denis Kopylov, and others, in this list, there is also the name of the former head of Poroshenko’s Presidential Administration Boris Lozhkin, whom Igor Mazepa assisted in sales of the UMH media holding. In 2013, Lozhkin’s company was sold for a fabulous $ 350 million. As a comparison, shares of the Washington Post are evaluated at 120 million.
All in all, in spite of the ban of Russian systems of payment in Ukraine, TYME effectively executes money transfers between the occupied territories, Russia, and Ukraine right up to 2018, when the NBU finally seizes its license. Igor Mazepa, however, is not stopped by this and he is initiating procedures in court against the National Bank for a supposedly unfair decision.
Generally, nothing human is alien to our businessman… New elections are not far off, and who knows, we might soon observe the enterprising moneymaker in the company of Verkhovna Rada deputies of a new convocation. After all, as you know, the opportunities are more numerous here, so the scope of future clients for shares of not yet privatized Ukrainian holdings is wider. And therefore, and there is no end of work to be done.