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Piotr Smirnow and Patryk Surmacki, who have acted as affiliates for a variety of forex and binary brokers, jailed 5+ years in the UK for blackmail.
Two Polish men, Piotr Smirnow and Patryk Surmacki, pleaded guilty yesterday in a UK court to blackmailing an online casino owner, and were each sentenced to 5 years and 4 months in jail.
Smirnow and Surmacki are fairly well known as well within the forex world, having operated affiliate marketing websites which fed business into a number of online forex and binary options brokers.
However their crime came related to an online casino. It seems as though they wanted to break into that business as well, but not via the usual route.
So what exactly did Smirnow and Surmacki do? This is worthy of a Hollywood movie. (Or YouTube clip of some undercover police work).
Turns out that Smirnow and Surmacki hatched up a scheme to blackmail the owner of a successful £30 million-per-year Manchester UK-based online gambling site.
(Court and police documents did not name the casino targeted; however an article in Softpedia stated that security expert Graham Cluley revealed it as Club World Casinos. The organization’s online gambling website was attacked on August 2, 2013.)
On July 23, 2013, Smirnow contacted the targeted victim and asked to meet, saying he had a business proposition. The victim initially declined, but Smirnow persuaded him to meet both him and Surmacki at Heathrow Airport. During the meeting the pair demanded a 50% stake in the online casino company — if not, they would “take down” the online casino’s servers, effectively stopping the website from operating.
Smirnow and Surmacki’s threat included a notorious US computer hacker called ‘Wapo’. They warned their victim that they’d pay Wapo to perform a DDoS attack on the victim company’s servers if they didn’t get what they wanted.
It didn’t end there. The victim (understandably) refused to pay or give up control of his company. And a week later, on August 2, Smirnow and Surmacki carried through on their threats and paid the hacker £12,000. Smirnow later admitted carrying out the attack in a Skype call to another victim, saying: “You have to understand last time we tried diplomacy, we talked, did call, meet etc. After that we understand only power talks in this world, now we have enough power so people can’t try to push us around anymore.”
The victim alerted police in Manchester and told them he was being blackmailed. A meeting with Smirnow and Surmacki was then set up at a hotel next to Heathrow Airport on August 7 in a room bugged by detectives. The victim refused to cooperate and Smirnow and Surmacki said they were now “going to war”. The two Polish men left the room and were arrested by police.