It didn’t take long after the Telegram ICO pre-sales for a bit of friction to erupt surrounding the company’s founder and its corporate status.
A story published a few days ago revealed what appeared to be a PLC registered in the UK using the name “Telegram Open Network Limited.”
Registered under the address of 91 Waterloo Road in London on February 28, 2018, it was definitive proof that Pavel Durov—Telegram’s founder and a Russian citizen—also has British citizenship.
Telegram has since denied this, saying that the entry in the UK Companies House is fake in a Tweet.
In the past, Pavel Durov claimed that he is a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, an island in the Caribbean that is part of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
He also said that he spends time in both London and Dubai.
What made the PLC filing in the Companies House so convincing was the fact that it was initiated with a capital of 800 million pounds in 100,000 shares. It’s around the size one would expect a company like Telegram to have.
The Companies House does not entirely vet its filings, instead choosing to audit them at a later time.
Telegram is embroiled in a battle with the Russian government, beginning with its refusal to give authorities the means to infiltrate the network and view messages.
The messaging service was even fined for refusing to turn in any data related to suspects that were involved in the St. Petersburg subway bombing last year.
It’s quite possible that the person who registered the fake company just wanted to give the startup one more headache to deal with.
On the other hand, we have no definite confirmation as of yet that the company is fake. For this, we will have to wait for a statement from the Companies House after it audits the filing.