E&G Bulgaria allegedly defrauded tens of thousands of consumers in Europe out of more than €200 million with its scams such as XtraderFX, SafeMarkets, OptionStars, or Golden Markets. According to law enforcement agencies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the principals of this organization were Israelis Gal Barak and Gery Shalon and their Russian partner Vladislav Smirnov. Barak was sentenced in Austria in September 2020 to four years in prison and restitution payments in the millions for investment fraud and money laundering. His wife, Marina Barak, who was also charged, was acquitted; the prosecutors appealed.
An expected acquittal
The presiding judge stated in yesterday’s sentencing that she had found no convincing evidence of Marina Barak‘s involvement in the fraudulent activities of her husband and his accomplices. The prosecution immediately appealed the acquittal. It still considers it proven that Marina Barak was the acting Chief Financial Officer of the cybercrime organization. E&G Bulgaria. However, the acquittal had been expected by trial observers because of the previous course of the trial.
The judge in charge is known for her predictable acquittals. The trial observers also criticized the fact that the judge evidently was not familiar with the files and, even worse, apparently had no idea whatsoever about cybercrime.
More charges on the road
Numerous other indictments are expected around E&G Bulgaria in Austria and Germany. Most recently, the former boiler room agent of E&G Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Dimitar Moraliyski a/k/a James Morra (his stage name) was sentenced in Germany to four years in prison (see report here). Gal Barak has appealed another indictment in Germany. This case is currently before the European Court of Justice. It is currently not clear whether charges will be brought against Marina Barak in Germany and other jurisdictions following her acquittal in Austria.