WA mogul facing US extradition denied bail in Perth Magistrates Court

Lydia Tsvetnenko, who split from her  Russian-born millionaire husband Zhenya last year, photographed coming out of Perth Magistrates Court this morning. Mr Tsvetnenko was denied bail in relation to an SMS scam. Picture: Anton La Macchia
Lydia Tsvetnenko, who split from her Russian-born millionaire husband Zhenya last year, photographed coming out of Perth Magistrates Court this morning. Mr Tsvetnenko was denied bail in relation to an SMS scam. Picture: Anton La Macchia

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 Mr 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.

Lydia Tsvetnenko outside Perth Magistrates Court. Picture: Anton La Macchia

Tsvetnenko’s spokeswoman previously told AAP he was not guilty.

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.