Perth Multi-Millionaire Facing US Extradition Denied Bail
A wealthy technology mogul will remain in jail in Perth as the US prepares extradition proceedings over a text message scam.
Eugeni "Zhenya" Tsvetnenko, 39, was charged by New York authorities in July 2016 with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, which each carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
It is alleged Tsvetnenko and co-offenders charged hundreds of thousands of mobile phone customers $US9.99 per month for unsolicited, recurring text messages about horoscopes, celebrity gossip and trivia between 2011 and 2013.
The US Attorney's Office says the "auto-subscription" scheme generated more than $US150 million in illegal profits, which the scammers used to fund lavish lifestyles, including expensive holidays, luxury cars and gambling.
Tsvetnenko was arrested last month and appeared in Perth Magistrates Court wearing prison greens via video link from Hakea prison on Tuesday, when magistrate Joe Randazzo rejected his bail application, saying "the risk of flight is real".
An extradition hearing is scheduled for April 12.
Tsvetnenko's spokeswoman previously told AAP he was not guilty.
So far, eight men have admitted to their role in the scam, while two others who unsuccessfully fought their charges at trial, Fraser Thompson and Darcy Wedd, were in 2018 sentenced to 10 years and five years behind bars, respectively.
Days after he was indicted, Tsvetnenko resigned from the boards of Australian stock exchange-listed blockchain technology company DigitalX and fraud mitigation software developer Tech Mpire, which is now named Adveritas.
He won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2010 and the top gong at the Business News 40 Under 40 Awards in 2011.