In September 2020, an Austrian court sentenced Gal Barak, the Wolf of Sofia, to four years in prison for investment fraud and money laundering. He was recently released on parole and is currently staying in Israel, where he gave an interesting interview to Calcalist in August 2021. He spoke openly about the fraud and manipulation with his scam brands XtraderFX, OptionStarsGlobal, SafeMarkets, and Golden Markets. According to Barak, everyone in the organization was aware of the fraud. The statements are certainly true but will not help his former partners and employees in court.
Recently, Tal-Jacki Fitelzon, a former lieutenant of Barak, pleaded guilty in Munich. He admitted that he knew that Gal Barak’s E&G Bulgaria was a cybercrime organization with the sole purpose of defrauding consumers. Fitelzon will receive between 6.5 to 7 years in prison. In October 2021, Kfir Levy, also a lieutenant of Barak, was arrested in the Philippines. He is also to be charged in Germany. With Barak’s confession and statements, his conviction also seems inevitable.
It was morally no problem for the Israeli scammers to defraud German and Austrian citizens. They saw it as retribution for the Holocaust, says Aleksandar Djordjevic of the Serbian online medium BIRN, who followed the case over the last couple of years.
The aggrieved investors have still not received their money. The court has ordered Gal Barak to pay a total of €4.2 million. Part of the money has been frozen in Bulgarian bank accounts, but the victims have not yet received anything. Barak must pay the remainder of the €4.2 million. However, he failed to pay by mid-December 2021.
Sure, it was fraud!
Gal Barak says he knew that client accounts and trades were manipulated through trading platforms such as Tradologic and PandaTS. His clients always had to lose while he was earning up to €100,000 per month.
“The smoking gun that the police found was the risk management carried out by the Tradologic platform, meaning that they changed prices and made investors always lose. Binary options are a trading arena, where the user buys an opportunity to profit if the price is so and so, but when the software mixes the numbers and can define in advance what will happen in the trade – it’s problematic. It’s like putting a magnet in a roulette, but it’s not done by the sales centers, rather by the software operators.” (Source: Calcalistech interview with Gal Barak)
It was Gal Barak‘s statements to the Austrian authorities that ultimately enabled German prosecutors to take action against the Israeli scam network. Barak also sees it that way. His confession may also be the reason for the relatively light prison sentence of four years. His former lieutenant Jacki Fitelzon will receive a significantly higher sentence.
The Europeans needed a conviction to end this story and my case helped them understand the method.Gal Barak
The matter is not over yet for Barak. The German public prosecutor’s office also wants to charge him again. Barak’s lawyer has objected to this. The case is currently before the European Court of Justice.
He was the real Wolf of Sofia
Gal Barak says in the interview that he would not have been the Wolf of Sofia nor the boss of this cybercrime network. Instead, it would have been his former partner, the Israeli citizen Ilan Tzorya, who founded the trading platform Tradologic in 2009.
I’m not the wolf of Sofia, not even the cat from Sofia. I’m actually a monkey – Ilan’s monkey. He is the real wolf who built this whole machine. I was just a little cog in this huge industry, flooded with Israelis […] I also accepted the conviction. But I feel like a scapegoat.Gal Barak
The public prosecutor’s office in Austria brought charges against Tzorya a few months ago. The trial is expected to begin in the spring of 2022. Tzorya tells Calcalist that he cooperated with authorities and thus made the indictment of Gal Barak possible. Barak’s statements were false.
The Gal Barak Confession
Gal Barak met the publisher of FinTelegram shortly before his arrest in early 2019. In an hours-long discussion, Barak admitted that he together with Gery Shalon and Vladislav Smirnov ran the cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria and its scams XTraderFX, SafeMarkets, and the other scam brands. He only denied that these were scams. This claim, however, was disproved by the law enforcement investigations and the court verdict resulting in the conviction of Gal Barak. They were bad scams that defrauded tens of thousands of victims out of more than €200 million.
In this discussion with FinTelegram Gal Barak stated that Ilan Tzorya parted ways with the group in a dispute and would not be active in Tradologic for quite some time. In E&G Bulgaria, according to Barak’s account, Tzorya was not active at all. It is also important to note that Barak did not only use the Tradologic platform for his XTraderFX and SafeMarkets, but also PandaTS. Barak admitted this in court and in a written submission to the court requested that Law Enforcement agents conduct a search of PandaTS‘ premises in Israel and Cyprus. PandaTS would be responsible for the fraud. In this respect, Barak’s interview with Calista contradicts his account to FinTelegram. It is a very special Gal Barak Version of reality. You may also simply call it lies.
The prosecutor’s office has filed a complaint against Barak for giving false testimony as a witness in the trial of his wife Marina Barak. The sentences for this are up to three years in prison. com
The interview with Gal Barak was recorded and handed over to law enforcement. It was de facto a confession and is part of the criminal file. So, it is evident that Gal Barak indeed is the real Wolf of Sofia.
Not a crown witness
Insiders say FinTelegram that Ilan Tzorya has turned down offers to act as a crown (state) witness. That would have saved him a lot of trouble. However, under European law, a state witness would first have to confess to committing crimes. Only with a confession could Tzorya have become a state witness and avoided penalties. However, Tzorya insisted that he had not committed any criminal acts. Therefore, he did not want to become a crown witness.