Fact-Checking: The Trinity Bugle’s Coverage of Maltese Company Papaya Ltd. and Its Link to Ilya Kligman

This article stemmed from a letter to the editor by a UK attorney representing a client of Papaya Ltd., a financial institution based in Malta. The letter sought independent fact-checking of a piece featured in the Trinity Bugle, a publication presenting itself as an Irish-Cypriot platform.

The complete version of the article titled “GERMAN AUTHORITIES UNCOVER CRIMINAL NETWORK LINKED TO FUGITIVE RUSSIAN BANKER ILYA KLIGMAN’S MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATIONS” can be accessed at Trinity Bugle website. At first, our curiosity was sparked by the publication itself, which was unfamiliar to us. After examining its content and writing style, it seems that the Trinity Bugle positions itself as a reputable voice within the financial sphere. The materials display a confident demeanor and are characterized by a straightforward style of delivery.

On our end, the journalistic quality control process was meticulously carried out in accordance with established external Fact-Checking standards and split into two phases: an evaluation of the publication itself and fact-checking of the article “GERMAN AUTHORITIES UNCOVER CRIMINAL NETWORK LINKED TO FUGITIVE RUSSIAN BANKER ILYA KLIGMAN’S MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATIONS.”

An in-depth analysis of the Trinity Bugle 

One of the most striking aspects of the Trinity Bugle website is the absence of any editorial contacts or physical address. This is unusual for official outlets, which typically provide these details and are accustomed to being accountable for the material they publish.

The issue of content theft is a significant concern, as evidenced by the article “IGOR ZOTKO, A PIN-UP OF CORRUPT UKRAINIAN GAMBLING BUSINESS“, which was published on the website just a week ago. However, the original version of this article belongs to the authors at the Ukrainian site idleaks.net , dated 24th October, 2023. This clear case of copyright infringement constitutes grounds for legal action.

Another concerning aspect is the attribution of someone else’s material on the website www.trinitybugle.com bylined with the name of one of the Trinity Bugle authors. In most cases, it appears as follows:

Written by: Liam O’Reilly
Liam O’Reilly is the founder of the publication, a former analyst at a major reputation agency in the UK, who chose Cyprus as his home.

It’s quite apparent that the staff at Trinity Bugle are deliberately misleading readers by attributing other people’s work to their own authors.

The manipulation described in #3 is something no professional journalist would engage in, as it puts their entire career at risk. It’s evident that all the names on the website, including Liam O’Reilly, are fictitious. This isn’t a case of using creative pseudonyms, a common practice among journalists. Instead, it’s an aforethought attempt to deceive readers with fake information on www.trinitybugle.com.

The Trinity Bugle website clearly displays Russian influence, particularly distinct in certain aspects such as the names assigned to authors (see #3). For instance, the phrase “Liam O’Reilly is the founder of the publication” frequently seen beneath articles seems to be a direct translation from Russian to English via Google Translator. It appears that the authors aimed to convey that someone named Liam O’Reilly is the founder of Trinity Bugle website, but this attempt was hindered by their reliance on Google Translator and limited English proficiency.

The content on the website is generated using AI, and subsequently presented as the original work of the publication’s journalists. This practice constitutes a serious breach of journalistic ethics. To confirm this, it’s sufficient to analyze the texts of the article “IGOR ZOTKO, A PIN-UP OF CORRUPT UKRAINIAN GAMBLING BUSINESS” both in its original form and on the Trinity Bugle website, as outlined in point #2.

The website displays a significant breach of GDPR regulations, particularly the absence of key sections such as “Privacy Policy” and “Terms and Conditions.” Such oversights are commonly observed among individuals from the post-Soviet states, as GDPR regulations primarily apply in the EU, the UK, and Ireland.

Lastly, in 80% of cases, the goals and objectives stated in the “ABOUT THE TRINITY BUGLE MEDIA” section do not align with the content on the website. Here is the objective stated on the website: “Welcome to Trinity Bugle, your go-to source for news and information about Ireland and Cyprus!” However, upon detailed analysis of the materials on the website, it becomes clear that a significant portion of the content is dedicated to businessmen and officials from Russia and Ukraine. Here are just a few of the names that are the subject of so-called investigations on the Trinity Bugle website:















Preliminary conclusions:
The facts mentioned above, which can be personally verified by anyone, strongly indicate that this resource functions as a facade for activities unrelated to journalism. Initial analysis suggests that this platform is being used as a tool to discredit individuals and organizations within the English-speaking world. Furthermore, the dissemination of disinformation on the site is likely carried out in the interests of unidentified individuals or entities connected with Russia or Ukraine.

Fact-Checking of “German Authorities Unveil Criminal Network Tied to Fugitive Russian Banker Ilya Kligman’s Money Laundering Operations” Published on the Trinity Bugle Website

The article on the Trinity Bugle website is attributed to an author named Liam O’Reilly, as indicated in blocks #2 and #3 of the previous section. A key conclusion that can be confidently drawn is that the identity of the article’s author is fictitious. Trinity Bugle portrays Liam O’Reilly as the agency’s founder and describes him as a “former analyst at a major reputation agency in the UK, who chose Cyprus as his home.”

From one perspective, presenting the “author” of the article in this way aims to strengthen the reader’s confidence in the content. If the “author” did indeed work as an analyst at a well-known reputation management agency in the UK, it would raise their social standing and add weight to their writing. This would likely instill a sense of authority and foster unwavering trust in the author’s texts among readers.

However, on the other hand, the deliberate omission of a specific name of the reputation agency in the UK raises suspicions. This intentional vagueness prevents any official verification of the author’s credentials, making it impossible to confirm whether Liam O’Reilly is a fake character.

Considering that the author of the article is fictitious and the publication Trinity Bugle seems to function as a platform for disseminating disinformation, the motive behind releasing this material becomes apparent: to undermine the reputation of individuals or organizations. In the context of the scrutinized article, it is evident that the focus of this discrediting campaign is directed towards Ilya Kligman and the financial institution Papaya Ltd., to which Kligman purportedly has some connection.

The article includes a “Proofs” section containing five references. Among these, the most authoritative source is the official website of the German capital – berlin.de.

The press release from the Berlin prosecutor’s office dated February 20, 2024 confirms that numerous searches were indeed conducted in Berlin, as well as in Latvia and Malta, under the auspices of the Berlin prosecutor’s office. The press release specifies that these actions were aimed at uncovering a large international money laundering network associated with Russian-Eurasian organized crime. Additionally, it mentions the arrest of a 53-year-old suspect in Brandenburg. However, the press release does not specify the names of organizations that are involved in the crime scheme.

Likewise, the identities of these organizations are not disclosed in the AML Intelligence profile resource or on the Malta Independent Online website.

None of the articles listed in the “Proofs” section make any mention of Ilya Kligman.

The financial institution Papaya Ltd. is referenced in only one source, which is the Times of Malta article. However, the article explicitly states: “Although certain details about the international probe have been disclosed, Papaya has not yet been publicly named as the financial institution in question.

The Times of Malta openly acknowledges that the information regarding Papaya Ltd. is unofficial. This raises legitimate questions about the sources of this information. The interim conclusion is that none of the five sources listed in the “Proofs” section contains official information about either Ilya Kligman or the financial institution Papaya Ltd.

The Times of Malta article identifies the owner of Papaya Ltd. as Latvian national Dmitry Panurksis, and this information aligns with public records. This information directly contradicts the assertion made in #2 and suggests deliberate disinformation on the part of Trinity Bugle, which mentions Ilya Kligman.

By strange coincidence, all materials cited in the article on Trinity Bugle regarding Ilya Kligman’s identity, connections, and potential criminal activities are sourced from Russian or Ukrainian outlets. For instance, references include https://sokalinfo.com/19-69008-12.html, as well as https://ruscrime.com/mafia/ilya-kligman-a-notorious-fraudster-has-been-sentenced-to-imprisonment-in-the-uae/amp/, which automates the translation of Russian-language articles into English.

This fact confirms the preliminary conclusions that the Trinity Bugle is not merely a tool of disinformation; rather, it appears to be directed towards advancing the agendas of interested parties seeking to discredit individuals and organizations associated with Russia or Ukraine within the English-speaking world.

In our assessment of whether this constitutes “Objective reporting or fake news?”, we are confident that we are dealing with fake news. The Trinity Bugle article is based on a factual event involving numerous searches conducted by the Berlin prosecutor’s office, not only in the German capital but also in Malta and Latvia. However, the connection of these events with Ilya Kligman and the financial institution Papaya Ltd. is fictitious, unsupported by official information, and appears to be designed to tarnish the reputation of Kligman and the financial institution.