Trustcom Financial has continuously appeared on our scam radar as a payment processor over the past few years. Scam operators have been directing deposits from their victims to Lithuanian companies with their bank accounts at this e-Money Institution. While the Bank of Lithuania regulates Trustcom Financial UAB with authorization code LB000438, it is an Italian venture controlled by Michele Scognamiglio. The close relationship with the Georgian tax advisor Business Service Distribution LLC (BSD) is of utmost interest. We want to know more about the Trustcom group and BSD.
Beneficial owners and other people
CEO of the BL-regulated Lithuanian entity is Marco Spinola (LinkedIn), an Italian living in Latvia, who owns several other companies in the Trustcom Group together with Michele Scognamiglio (LinkedIn). According to their LinkedIn profiles, both are Italian citizens living and working in Latvia.
Scognamiglio is related to the unregulated payment processor Kaliax Pay Ltd, registered in London, through his relative Ciro Scognamiglio. Conto Per Protestati Ltd in the UK also appears in the network as an unregulated payment processor. The Romanian Marius Constantin Stoia controls this entity.
The ownership structure of the Trustcom group is a bit complex:
- Trustcom Ltd, registered in the UK (Companies House) with Scognamiglio and Spinola as directors, allegedly controls regulated Lithuanian Trustcom Financial UAB.
- This UK entity is controlled by BSD Service SIA in Latvia and Aktrotex Inter Pty Ltd in South Africa, each holding 50% (Companies House). These two companies are also the designated partners in Trustcom Holding LLP in Scotland (Companies House).
- Trustcom Ltd in the UK, in turn, controls Trustcomfinancial Ltd, where Marco Spinola is a director (Companies House).
- Marco Spinola and Michele Scognamiglio are also the registered directors of Trustcom B.V. in the Netherlands and Trustcom D.O.O. in Montenegro
The Trustcom Group consists of companies in different jurisdictions controlled by the owners of BL-regulated Trustcom Financial UAB. However, from a regulatory point of view, the listed companies have to be considered related entities to the BL-regulated entity.
Michele Scognamiglio is one of the beneficial owners of the Georgian Business Service Distribution LLC (BSD), like Trustcom, a group of many companies with offices in London, Milan, Barcelona, and Budapest.
BSD offers to develop tax-optimizing corporate and banking structures for clients through a variety of websites. Additionally, BDS brokers clients’ bank accounts to Trustcom Financial. Among them are many high-risk merchants. In the process, BSD also arranges front men and nominees (“monkeys”) for the established companies and bank accounts. These are then the beneficiaries of the bank accounts of BSD clients at Trustcom.
An insider told us that BSD refers clients to Trustcom, including many high-risk merchants and scam-facilitating entities like Fuselma UAB or Skylas UAB. The incoming funds of these clients are not always really clean, according to the insider. Therefore, Trustcom would regularly suspend the merchants’ bank accounts and freeze their funds. The volume of the frozen funds is said to be in the double-digit million euro range. This approach is not an unusual business model for high-risk payment processors to say the least. Payvision or the collapsed iPayTotal were also known for working with this approach.