Vienna Cybercrime Trials and the disturbing Balkan Papers

Vienna Cybercrime Trials and the Balkan Papers
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The Israeli scammer and cybercrime principal Gal Barak was sentenced to four years in prison and restitution payments at the beginning of September 2020 at the start of the Vienna Cybercrime Trials (“#VCT“). Further charges against his co-conspirators will follow in various EU jurisdictions. Barak and his partner Uwe Lenhoff have also operated their illegal boiler rooms and payment processors in the Balkans. The FinTelegram partners Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) has recently published the Balkan Papers related to the #VCT.

Exposing Balkan Cybercrime Activities

The Balkan Papers by BIRN journalists Aleksandar Djordjevic and Milorad Ivanovic have been published on BalkenInsight (English short version) and Javno (Serbian long version), as well as a related report in the Serbian mainstream media Blic (read here), focus on the activities of Gal Barak and his German partner Uwe Lenhoff in Serbia and the Balkans.

The background and context behind the sudden death of Alexander Ignjatovic – a 34-year-old Serb born in Germany – a former employee of a Barak Boiler Room, is provided in the reports. In July 2019, Ignjatovic delivered a 50-page statement in the German embassy in Belgrade which incriminated Barak and his accomplices massively. A few weeks before the start of the Vienna Cybercrime Trialls Alexander Ignjatovic died of heart failure. This is said to have been caused by an overdose of drugs.

Gal Barak with Uwe Lenhoff and Marko Vujosevic and Global Payment Solutions

The traces of the Balkan Papers investigation also led the journalists to Belgrade lawyer Marko Vujosevic and his client Lazar Hoppl. Both are listed as suspects in the #VCT. Through the Belgrade lawyer, Barak and his co-conspirators founded the payment processor Global Payment Solutions Podgorica DOO (“GPS“) in Montenegro. According to the lawyer Vujosevic, in 2017, approximately €23 million of funds from defrauded customers of Barak and Lenhoff’s platforms were laundered. Vujosevic was a GPS representative and shareholder.

More Trials to come

While this report is being published, more suspects are being questioned in Austria and Germany in the worldwide network around the #VCT and Barak’s cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria. hundreds of people worked in dozens of companies across multiple jurisdictions. Even more offshore entities have been used to launder the dirty money stolen from consumers and retail investors.

Further testimonies prove that employees of Barak’s boiler rooms were regularly threatened and intimidated so that they would not make statements. The cybercrime organization around Gal Barak, his Bulgarian wife Marina Barak, and his partners Gery Shalon, Israel, and Vladislav Smirnov, Russia, is in fact a mafia-like cybercrime organization and also works with physical violence and extortion. Although Barak is still in jail in Vienna and expects another trial in Germany, his wife and partners continue to operate the organization.

The indictment against Marina Barak (formerly known as Marina Andreeva) has already been served. She is accused by the prosecutors of money laundering.

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