December 8, 2016

The accused ringleader of a cyber fraud gang that allegedly rented out access to a criminal cloud hosting service known as “Avalanche” is now a fugitive from justice following a bizarre series of events in which he shot at Ukrainian police, was arrested on cybercrime charges and then released from custody.

Gennady Kapkanov. Source:

Gennady Kapkanov. Source:

On Nov. 30, authorities across Europe coordinated the arrest of five individuals thought to be tied to the Avalanche crime gang, in an operation that the FBI and its partners abroad described as an unprecedented global law enforcement response to cybercrime.

According to Ukrainian news outlets, the alleged leader of the gang — 33-year-old Russian Gennady Kapkanov — did not go quietly. Kapkanov allegedly shot at officers with a Kalashnikov assault rifle through the front door as they prepared to raid his home, and then attempted to escape off of his 4th floor apartment balcony.

Ukrainian police arrested Kapkanov and booked him on cybercrime charges. But a judge in the city of Poltava, Ukraine later ordered Kapkanov released, saying the prosecution had failed to file the proper charges (including charges of shooting at police officers), charges which could have allowed authorities to hold him much longer. Ukrainian media reports that police have since lost track of Kapkanov.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko is now calling for the ouster of the prosecutor in charge of the case. Meanwhile, the Ukranian authorities are now asking the public for help in re-arresting Kapkanov.


Weapons police say they seized from Kapkanov’s apartment. Source:

Built as a criminal cloud-hosting environment that was rented out to scammers, spammers other ne’er-do-wells, Avalanche has been a major source of cybercrime for years. In 2009, when investigators say the fraud network first opened for business, Avalanche was responsible for funneling roughly two-thirds of all phishing attacks aimed at stealing usernames and passwords for bank and e-commerce sites.  By 2011, Avalanche was being heavily used by crooks to deploy banking Trojans.

The U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA), says the more recent Avalanche fraud network comprised up to 600 servers worldwide and was used to host as many as 800,000 web domains at a time.

Kapkanov, in blue with his hands over his head, standing on his 4th-floor balcony. Image:

Kapkanov, in blue with his hands over his head, standing on his 4th-floor balcony. Image:

Kapkanov's drivers license. Source:

Kapkanov’s drivers license lists an address in the United Kingdom. Source:

47 thoughts on “‘Avalanche’ Crime Ring Leader Eludes Justice

  1. IRS iTUNE cards (real)

    “A judge in the city of Poltava, Ukraine later ordered Kapkanov released, saying the prosecution had failed to file the proper charges ”

    This sounds like a highly corrupt judicial system to me.

    1. Jewtopia

      Ha, like that ever stopped JUSTICE!
      JUSTICE WILL FIND A WAY, KRABS, we will liberate teh world with KNOWLEDGE.

    2. Enrique


      Now you know why ordinary Ukrainians flood Maidan Square pushing for reforms….

      1. olgino bot 14

        [Now you know why ordinary Ukrainians flood Maidan Square pushing for reforms….]
        But it was post-maidan judge. All curruption-free and stuff!

      1. IRS iTUNE cards (real)

        Same one that melts down nuclear reactors !

        1. JimV

          Chernobyl occurred under the Soviet rule and the reactor operation was mostly led by Russian management, not so much the Ukrainians.

  2. IfAtFirstYouDontSucceed

    Whoops. We forgot the paperwork… Face palm!

  3. n10cities

    Hmmm….’tis a shame he wasn’t in the U.S. when he shot at those cops. The cops over here would have ended his a** right then and there…

    1. V

      No, US cops mostly shoot at black, preferably unarmed people and if possible in the back. But there’s no point in turning this into something political. Corruption and blackmail are the same everywhere, only the stakes change.

      The judge may have been coerced to do it, bribed or he may have simply followed the law.

      1. Whoever

        V, you should probably actually do the slightest bit of research before babbling about things you clearly know nothing of. 990 cop killings in 2015 in the US, 258 black, 172 Hispanic and the rest white or undetermined (a very small number). Quit being fed everything you “know” from news outlets and Twitter and get some real information.

        1. V

          Did you just find some figures on Twitter to excuse the fact that more cops are convicted of manslaughter (and God knows how many of these crimes are covered up since it’s obvious that even when presented with evidence in most cases the departments stand by the killer’s side) than anywhere else on the planet?

          Did you really just find an excuse for why more innocent people (proven) are shot by cops than anywhere else possibly except North Korea and other “elite” members of this club?

          What next? Find some numbers to justify rape? Incest? They must be ok, those women and children definitely did something to deserve it and you have the numbers to prove it.
          That’s one shallow gene pool dude :(.

      2. Richard Turnbull

        “Spotlight Fallacy” at work — the actual numbers do not show that the police “mostly” do any such thing. Most people shot while resisting are not “unarmed.” That you immediately move to a lame attempt to scold someone for turning the discussion into aspects of American politics is faintly risible.

        1. V

          Is it me or you guys simply can’t stay on a topic? Which in this case is conveniently mentioned in the title, you’d think it’s easy…

          One guy felt the need to compare the situation to one in a country where more cops are found guilty of manslaughter that anywhere else on the planet, another guy quotes Twitter figures to show me I shouldn’t believe Twitter figures and yet another one decides to attack me as a person because between the title of the article and the comment he forgot why he’s here (I’m looking at you richard turnbull).

          So Dick, I don’t care about US politics nor do I think cops shooting unarmed suspects in the back are necessarily “politics”, rather poor education, and an aggressive nature that never seems to favor thinking before acting. You seem to know something about that. What you don’t seem to know is that this is how discussions work: when you say something you can expect a reply on that topic. So if I tell you that in Sweden this guy would have been captured without a single shot fired and kept in custody I will expect an answer related to Swedish police and justice system (not from you in particular, you’re stuck doing your thing). Get it?

  4. James Buchanan

    The courts sounded correct. Bad charges should have been dismissed. And you cannot keep someone in jail on no charges. Almost sounds like America.

    1. Richard Turnbull

      Turning loose a violent felon because of some mixed-up paperwork failure, rather than instructing the arresting officers to complete the proper forms, is a recipe for disaster. It’s not as if the apprehended person was charged with a relatively harmless offense like a parking ticket, is it?

  5. John Doe

    Why is everyone so quick to claim corruption? Quite possible that Gennady has a very good lawyer that managed to find slight issues in the filed paperwork.

    Don’t think a Judge is looking forward letting a cop shooter walk, but invalid paperwork is invalid paperwork.

    1. Richard Turnbull

      Get real — making a fetish out of correct forms is bound to lead to results like this. No, you rely on the laws of equity and common sense. With a violent malefactor held by the local constabulary, you should not release him to continue his reckless misconduct and intentional acts of violence,
      “For the Letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life,” is one theological version of the same point.

      1. Novae

        The problem with the “equity and common sense” proposal is that it is monstrously ripe for abuse.

        Let’s say that I get falsely charged for a crime. I manage to prove my innocence, and then the judicial system says “Whoops, we meant to charge you with this OTHER VERY SIMILAR crime… Hope you can afford do-overs forever!”

        No, the reason that there are specific processes in place for justice is because police and prosecutors are supposed to be specifically trained to do their job correctly. Kinda like how doctors don’t get a do-over if their patient dies, or bomb technicians don’t if they blow themselves up. You just have to get some things right the first time, period.

        You can’t “mulligan” the justice system until you get the results you want, otherwise the government can just prosecute you for whatever they want until you either go broke and/or get a jury that doesn’t like your face or something.

  6. Putin Soskary

    This story is so stupid that it could not be made into a movie – not even Police Academy 9 – because the studios would fear their audiences would be insulted by such a ridiculous deus ex machina plot point.

    But if the same story comes from the mouth of a government spokeshole, well then of course everything must have happened exactly how they said it did. After all, governments always tell the truth, never have hidden agendas, and never use the media to manipulate the public.

    Wasn’t there some sort of hullabaloo recently about “fake news”?

    The entire story is “problematic” to say the least, but a couple of details are especially odd. Why is his face blurred out in the one photo of the “arrest” if he is a wanted fugitive and a crystal clear color face shot of “the same person” leads the story? Maybe he consented to use of the face photo but not the arrest photo? Or maybe the person being “arrested” isn’t the accused fugitive. If they never had this person in custody that would explain why he is not currently in custody much better than the official yarn.

    Even if the prosecutor botched the paperwork, no one thought of, you know, following him when he left the courthouse? Surely this unprecedented international team of law enforcement experts could hail a cab and shout “yo Holmes, to Bel Air… err… I mean, Follow that car!!!”

    1. Catwhisperer

      A cursory examination of the image you mention with GIMP shows that it is a back shot. So the individual is looking away from the camera. The “blurring” is not blurring because the edges around the arms & background appear quite sharp when contrast and brightness are manipulated. So what we see as blurring on the web browser is actually an effect of exposure/focal plane limiting on the image…

    2. SeymourB

      It’s always interesting how some people on the internet jump from any old odd situation to “CONSPIRACY!” in less than 10 seconds.

      What if he’s flipping the bird in the blurred photo and, before publishing the photo publicly, they blurred that part of the photo to obscure the gesture?

      What if he was making a predetermined hand gesture at that time, to communicate with his partners in crime that haven’t been caught?

      The possibilities really are endless. That you can only regurgitate a conspiracy theory points to a severe lack of imagination.

  7. Sergey

    Here’s a video of the arrest for those interested:

    He escaped from the balcony of his apartment onto the balcony of the neighbor, which is what shown on the screencap in this article. Video also shows bullet holes in the door.

    I’m a Ukrainian and I was pleasantly surprised by the arrest. However these news are along the lines of what I normally expect. I had some interaction with judges recently (in a civil case) and the only way it’s ever getting fixed is from the outside, the system seems to filter out anyone with any sense of morals and what is right.

  8. Dmitry

    Just for the information – UK driving license doesn’t show driver’s nationality, only the country of birth. In this case the word “Russia” on the license only means that Mr. Kapkanov was born somewhere in Soviet Union and it could be any part of it – including Ukraine. Generally, it is up to DVLA to decide what to put on license – USSR/Russia/Russian Federation/any other former soviet union country.

  9. @law

    Thanks for the video sergey!! I am also not surprised how things went. It happened so many times especially in Ukraina, its a classic.

  10. Alex

    You guys got all wrong
    Simple cover up by authority
    Government need him
    He represent huge value

    1. Jim Andrakakis

      That’s what I call an informed opinion of the post-truth type

  11. korelik

    Ahhh this is nothing special.
    In uk london use to be full of criminals like this when they played with zeus trojans.
    They all armed very dangerous kind of people and on top of that they all know martial arts boxing.then they have meetings and mney makings bla blaaa
    But if you are in criminal career then offcourse you know martial arts and you have guns this all is so standard
    And its so boring…..stenario is known all ready
    But at the end they all get killed or landing in jail.
    So 2 ways for high profile criminals are jail or death.
    First they dont know this but when they reach higher position on
    Criminal hiracy then they realise there is no way out.
    And you can not talk about criminal network…couse you been watched.
    This network is huge. Outsiders dont have idea. So people are involved in this they want to take time back.but guess what you made deal with satan then you are done . You will be living high wealthy and good life until satan using you then hell throw to jail. Or will let you die…by drugs alchol or someome will kill you. So the money what they get for this its not worted couse they all trade their souls.
    Same thing was happening Escobar same thing with all drug lords.
    So people need to realise things are not how they seems to be this all works until there is enough naive poor gold diggers who slowly slowly will be pulled in this evil cult.
    Problem is satan can harm only those people who make contract with him.
    So this is how it works….you start doing somethimg you start getinh money…then suddenly it all stoped. And things will get serious so you have to decide you want to continue or success for you is finished.
    So if you wish to continue then you belong to cult. For ever. But 10-20 you get nice life expensive escort drugs luxury house …. it will last long for you 10 years. After then years satan will come to you…look man now in order to not loose what you have the material things…you have to bring in more fresh young people. So the evil circle will contine…so if you fail to do this then the satan will throw you away you probably will get killed or you get life sentence.
    Remeber you are untouchebla until devil using you!!

    1. Novae

      Is this free-verse poetry or just word salad? Sometimes I have trouble telling the difference in comment sections.

  12. korp

    What will happening now?
    So for fraud people will start get higher sentences.
    So fraud will become illegal.
    So near future…criminals will be more hungry
    They will be like wild wolfs. Who need food…but govermenrs around world making it more difficult tobe as criminal.
    Guess what in russia Trotsky lead criminals who took over russia by russian revolution.
    But now what?? If the all crimes are going down what criminals will do to survive?? Who the wolfs will eat if tgere is now rabbits in forest left anymore???
    I think its so funny…the wolfes will come out from forests.
    What will happening is the very same crminals will start rioting revolutions in countries. So have news for everybody our life in planet earth will get only worse
    But thats ok coz this is what people want…
    So lets be greedy and selfish..and ignorant then lets see

  13. titanicc

    Our life is like titanic…
    Everybody is so happy and entertained but in shadows there is dark things happening. So people undestood but many of us not.
    They eat have sex they drink…
    But when suddenly there is panic…they start cry.
    Those are the people who will sink first.
    Sepeccially our financial world is like last days of Titanic

  14. Richard Turnballs

    Hello I’m Richard Turnbull I use big words like constabulary – see, I’m smart! I also think that if the police make a mistake in your prosecution, they should get infinite do-overs! That way, everyone can go to prison!

    1. Darron Wyke

      >Country that melts down nuclear reactors
      That was the USSR, not Ukraine.

      >and shoots down airplanes
      If you’re referring to MH17, that was due to Ukraine separatists, which are Russians, not Ukrainians.

      Might want to check your facts a bit more next time.

      1. William Smith

        No, I am talking about Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 of 2001.

        So, ukrainians are very good at shooting down planes.

        As for MH17, Ukraine is liable for it in any case, for failing to close the unsafe airspace.

  15. signel

    Clearly he was taken by the government to offer his services directly to them. Might as well use him and his crew against Russia directly… Same stuff happens all over the world. The Orlando Nightclub wife/GF is still missing right? I’d bet she is being waterboarded for info somewhere. This guy is being used for some government goals.

  16. reader_001

    Paragraph 6 – Is it meant to say Australia or Austria? It seems strange that europol would comment about a country on the other side of the world

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