Payvision and its founder and former CEO Rudolf Booker are already subjects of the criminal proceedings in Germany and Austria. Uwe Lenhoff, the alleged mastermind of a cybercrime organization, was arrested in January 2019. He was a personal friend of Booker and used Payvision for his dirty business. Rudolf Booker was introduced to Lenhoff by Amsterdam real estate investor Dirk-Jan Bakker, a partner of Lenhoff, who was found dead in his prison cell in July 2020. Criminal charges have now been filed against Payvision and its founders for money laundering and investment fraud.
Buddies in cybercrime
Gal Barak, an Israeli citizen, was one of Lenhoff’s partners and a principal of the cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria. Lenhoff referred Barak to Booker and Payvision. Until a few days before the law enforcement action in January 2019 and the arrest of Barak, Payvision was still transferring millions to his companies. As nominee directors for the companies, Gal Barak and his wife Marina Barak (previously Marina Andreeva) took partially homeless individuals in Bulgaria. This was known to Payvision. Booker was quite important to Lenhoff and Barak, as seen from various WhatsApp transcripts (see screenshot left between Gal Barak and Uwe Lenhoff).
Gal Barak was sentenced to four years in prison and millions in payments to victims for investment fraud and money laundering. His wife Marina Barak is also charged and is currently on trial in Vienna. Former associates and co-conspirators of Lenhoff and Barak are in prison in Germany awaiting trial.
In the criminal files of the Vienna Cybercrime Trials, one can find indeed revealing WhatsApp communications of Lenhoff with his accomplices and with Booker himself. These pieces of communication prove that Lenhoff and his associates, such as Gal Barak processed illicit proceeds through Payvision. Hundreds of millions were allegedly laundered through Payvision. With the knowledge and will of the board members. At least, that is what a complaint filed by the European Fund Recovery Initiative (EFRI), a Vienna-registered NGO for victim protection and fund recovery, alleges.
The authorities know
EFRI filed the criminal complaint with the relevant authorities in Germany and Austria. A complaint in Holland is to follow shortly. According to an insider, the competent authorities are convinced that Booker and his Payvision knew very well that the money from Lenhoff and Barak was from illegal activities and willfully and knowingly facilitated them. There, the complaint meets with open arms.
ING Bank acquired Payvision in 2018 based on a valuation of €380 million. In April 2020, founders Rudolf Booker, Gijs op de Weegh, and Cheng Liem Li exited the company. Booker is allegedly enjoying life on his €50-million yacht and spending the rest of his days in Dubai. But this will not delay the investigation of the authorities. Actually, it is a landmark case when it comes to the responsibility of cybercrime-facilitating payment processors.