In January 2019 the German Uwe Lenhoff was arrested. After months of investigations by the authorities in Austria, Germany, and other EU countries, the authorities had enough evidence to convict Lenhoff of investment fraud. According to the investigating authorities, Lenhoff operated a network of fraudulent binary options sites with several partners – broker scams – and is said to have defrauded tens of thousands of retail investors in Europe by more than 100 million euros. An EU arrest warrant was issued against one of his partners, the Israeli Gal Barak, at the same time as Lenhoff was arrested.
The arrested German perpetrator
Uwe Lenhoff, 55, is currently in custody in Germany and is waiting for his trial. Further persons like the former boiler room managers Betim Tasholli and Mohamad Shaker are under investigation. Lenhoff’s Israeli partner Gal Barak is to be extradited to Austria by the Bulgarian authorities.
Rudolf Booker and Payvision
One of the partners of Uwe Lenhoff and his criminal organization was apparently the Dutch Rudolf Booker. He is the founder of the payment service provider Payvision. In March 2018, the Dutch bank ING completed the acquisition of its 75% stake in Payvision for a total value of €360 million. Which made Booker one of the richest Dutch startup entrepreneurs and a celebrity in Amsterdam.
The ING acquisition of the majority stake was apparently based on a valuation of Payvision, which was inflated by the dealings with Uwe Lenhoff and the other binary options scams.
Lenhoff also claims that he acted as an affiliate on behalf of Booker and Payvision. In this capacity, he would have referred Gal Barak and his scams to Payvision. And probably also Novox Capital Ltd and its scams.
In June 2016, the publisher of FinTelegram was present in a full day meeting with Uwe Lenhoff, many other binary options scammers and Payvision management in the Payvision HQ in Amsterdam. Detailed plans were developed to help Payvision generate more revenue from this booming scam.
At that time, in June 2016, the binary options were not yet banned and there were no warnings from financial market regulators in Europe. It was not until the end of 2016 that the first major fraud cases became known in Europe and North America. At the end of 2016, Visa blocked binary options in Canada.
In the years between 2015 and 2018, the binary options scams around Payvision processed hundreds of millions of small investors. Payvision handled a substantial part of this payment transaction volume.
From the bank documents of Gal Barak‘s organisation available to us, FinTelegram is aware that Payvision processed payments to Gal Barak‘s broker scams such as XTraderFX, SafeMarkets or Golden Markets until the end of 2018. Millions of payments were processed by Payvision to the accounts of Gal Barak companies at the Bulgarian Investbank. This despite the fact that since the beginning of 2017 financial market supervisory authorities of various jurisdictions have warned against the scams.
Good buddies and brothers in war – Lenhoff and Booker
In the file of the public prosecutor’s office, there are protocols of recorded phone discussions between Payvision CEO Rudolf Booker and Uwe Lenhoff. These are from the period December 2018 to January 2019, shortly before Lenhoff was arrested. In it, Booker describes Lenhoff as his buddy. The Payvision CEO openly talks about the problems Payvision would face with Fintelegram’s publications.
There is also an open discussion about certain problems of Novox Capital Ltd with ZoomTrader or ZoomTraderGlobal and the Cypriot supervisory authority CySEC. Lenhoff tries to reassure his buddy
Novox Capital was a financial services company in Cyprus controlled by the three Israelis Israel Bash, Shay Hillel, and Yehoram Hillel. This broker and broker platform operator was a really big fish back then in the binary options scam sea. The company was licensed by the Cypriot Financial Market Authority CySEC. Numerous infringements have been committed against this license. The company had to pay penalties again and again. This was also the case at the beginning of 2018 when the CySEC imposed a total fine of €175,000.
Novox Capital and its beneficial owners had a close (direct or indirect) relationship to Uwe Lenhoff and his Veltyo, Gal Barak and his E&G Bulgaria and finally to Payvision and Rudolf Booker. The company was then known for operating binary options platforms that were then exposed as scams and banned. This situation must have occupied Booker and Lenhoff in their recorded phone conversations. The resulting problem was well known to the buddies and war companions.