Statement re: MAPS CEO, The Guardian group, and a smear campaign

Maps Token
3 min readMar 28


For over two months, Alex Grebnev, CEO co-founder of and Oxygen, and founder of fintech firm, N2 Capital AG (‘N2’) , has been subject to a malicious and criminal smear campaign by someone disguising their identity and masquerading under two pseudonyms. This has now been followed by an article published by the Guardian newspaper group online dated 26 March 2023. The Guardian has, in response to our complaint, made corrections to the article. But the fact that it was published in the first place makes it important to speak out about this.

N2 believes that it knows the identity of the individual, a British citizen, who is responsible for the smear campaign and for misleading The Guardian. This individual is someone aggressively pursuing personal interests (including financial) against Alex Grebnev and N2. That individual’s name has been submitted to UK police, for further investigation, as part of a formal complaint about the criminal harm the individual has caused. A complaint of criminal behaviour has also been made to Swiss police, under Swiss federal law.

N2 is a member of VQF, the leading, largest Swiss self-regulatory organisation that is supervised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). As part of VQF, N2 is also subject to regular independent, third-party anti-money laundering audits.

Turning to The Guardian allegations:

  • N2 has gone to considerable lengths to ensure its products and technologies comply with all the applicable laws of the countries in which it operates, as well as all applicable sanctions against Russia.
  • N2 operates rigorous compliance systems and controls including a sophisticated Know Your Client (KYC) system using well-established and highly regarded software, automated transaction monitoring and industry-leading blockchain screening and intelligence.
  • No person resident in Russia — no matter what their citizenship — can access N2’s regulated card services. Using geo-location technology, N2 prevents Russian residents from having access to N2’s card services.
  • N2 does not offer VPN services, nor does it offer any service to disguise a user’s identity or location.
  • N2 does not conduct business activities in Russia, nor does it solicit customers or businesses in Russia.

N2’s relationship with Monavate and Mastercard

The Guardian is completely wrong to suggest that Mastercard ended its relationship with MapsMe (or N2). Mastercard had no direct relationship with either MapsMe or N2. Mastercard’s agreement was with Monavate, and it was Monavate which instructed Mastercard to block N2’s card programme.

  • It is not true to suggest that Monavate (Monavate is a payment solutions firm that provides Bank Identification Numbers (‘BIN’) sponsorship services to facilitate Mastercard and Visa card issuance) terminated its agreement to provide Mastercard services to N2. Monavate sought to terminate, which it was not entitled to do. Ultimately, N2 terminated the contract with Monavate on the basis of Monavate’s continued repudiatory breaches (including the fact that Monavate instructed Mastercard to block Maps/N2’s card programme).
  • As for any suspicions of potential sanctions breaches, N2 has not breached any sanctions; nor have sanctioned individuals used N2’s services to evade sanctions against them.
  • International law firm, Reed Smith, acts for Alex Grebnev and N2 in connection with these matters. N2 always obtains relevant regulatory legal advice (including regarding sanctions) and acts in accordance with it.

Alex Grebnev, CEO co-founder of, and founder of fintech firm, N2, said: “For over two months, I have been subject to malicious and defamatory allegations, which constitute a criminal smear campaign by someone hiding their identity.

“While I get that it is open season on ‘tech bro’ culture, and especially anyone with Russian roots, that neither justifies nor validates malicious campaigns from fraudulent bad actors. It is frustrating that The Guardian has been led into amplifying the malicious and criminal campaign of which I have been a victim.

“For the record, I have not helped any Russians, or any other people or firms, evade sanctions.”

“The future life and success of my business interests are not tied to the FTX debacle. Contrary to what The Guardian has been told, I have never met Sam Bankman-Fried in person in the Bahamas, or anywhere else. Whilst FTX Group did not hold any equity in the business, it did hold a significant proportion of MAPS tokens. We are considering all options on how to protect the MAPS ecosystems and are working with legal advisors to assist with the ongoing FTX bankruptcy process.

“I am optimistic for the future of the MapsMe and N2. We keep working hard to make finance better and fair for everyone using technologies that give power to users. We believe in new ideas, helping people build a better future together and driving financial inclusion.”



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