Whistleblower Kidnapped in Ukraine After Accusing Crypto Firm of Exit Scam

A group of people pushed a man into a gray minivan on a dark street. The man yelled, “Help! Help! No!” and pushed against the van. Passersby shouted, “Let him go!” and tried to stop the van. The man was finally stuffed inside and the van left.

This blurry video, apparently filmed by an unidentified witness Wednesday night in Kyiv, Ukraine, and circulated by local news publications Thursday morning, might mark a new chapter in the story of Bitsonar, a crypto investment firm that raised millions of dollars from investors in the U.S. and Europe, which they are now unable to access.

The Ukrainian media wrote that the man driven away in the minivan was ex-Bitsonar employee Yaroslav Shtadchenko. Shtadchenko’s wife Julia confirmed to CoinDesk her husband appeared in the video and had gone missing last night around 11 p.m. local time as he was coming home from work. She also said she found her husband’s personal belongings on the street after her neighbors told her he was kidnapped.

The harrowing incident highlights the proliferation of risky investment schemes and dubious operators in the crypto industry, but also blockchain technology’s potential to help track missing funds.

Complaint to FBI in the works

According to Julia Shtadchenko, before going missing, Yaroslav Shtadchenko called Bistonar’s CEO, Marius Ziubka, and told him he was going to file complaints about Bitsonar to law enforcement in different countries, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. Then, on Wednesday, the lawyer of Bitsonar’s founder called Shtadchenko and suggested “settling the conflict peacefully,” his wife said.

After that, Yaroslav Shtadchenko was kidnapped on his way home. Julia Shtadchenko said she filed a police report Wednesday night but hadn’t heard any updates on her husband’s whereabouts.

In July, Yaroslav Shtadchenko gave an interview to the Russian crypto news publication Forklog under the pseudonym Jan Novak, saying that Bitsonar…

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