The trial of Israeli citizen Tal-Jacki Fitelzon is currently underway in Munich. He was one of Gal Barak‘s lieutenants in his cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria. Three former boiler room employees of E&G Bulgaria had already been sentenced to 33, 48, and 54 months in prison in Germany. According to one of the responsible public prosecutors, Bavaria-based Nino Goldbeck, some 30 suspected cybercrime activists sit currently in prisons in pre-trial detention worldwide at the request of German and Austrian law enforcement. All of them are to be extradited to Germany and put on trial.
Jacki Fitelzon has already pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial in Munich. He admitted that he was a ringleader of this cybercrime organization whose purpose was systematic investment fraud against consumers. In September 2020, a Vienna court sentenced Gal Barak to a four-year prison term. He has heavily incriminated Fitelzon, claiming that the latter knew and was aware of the fraud and manipulations. For this, Fitelzon will receive between 6.5 to 7 years in prison. According to the prosecution, the bosses of E&G Bulgaria were Gal Barak and Marina Barak (pictured right).
Most recently, Israeli Kfir Levy was arrested in October 2021. He, too, was a lieutenant of Barak. In April 2020, five suspects were arrested in Serbia and four in Bulgaria during an Action Day. In total, some 30 suspects have been arrested worldwide, according to prosecutor Nino Goldbeck, he told Australia’s ABC.
In other cases, German prosecutors have made arrests in Israel, Cyprus, Ukraine, and the Balkans. Even if the individual cases are separate, there are connections between the various cybercrime networks. The same marketing companies, boiler rooms, and payment processors are often used. The cybercrime industry is tightly networked across the globe.
The German cruisade against cybercrime
Nino Goldbeck is the public prosecutor in Germany’s Bavarian Central Office for the Prosecution of Cybercrime. In 2018, the Bavarian law enforcement agency appointed four prosecutors to focus on cybercrime specifically. German law enforcement agencies learned that the fight against cybercrime requires new methods and, above all, dedication. Law enforcement agencies from various jurisdictions have formed tasks forces to form cross-jurisdictional investigative groups.
Nino Goldbeck is one of the senior prosecutors of the Bavarian cybercrime division. He knows about the danger of cybercrime for the future of our cybersocieties. Goldback is aware of the problems of cross-jurisdictional investigations and that cryptocurrencies are taking cybercrime to a new level.
The whole world is talking about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This crypto hype makes it all the easier for the perpetrators to defraud people.Nino Goldbeck, German Cybercrime Prosecutor
Powered by whistleblowers
Meanwhile, the world looks to Germany when it comes to the fight against cybercrime. However, it is a fact that this fight could not develop so efficiently without whistleblowers. FinTelegram referred several whistleblowers to investigative authorities in Austria and Germany between 2018 and 2019. Without their tips, the successes of Nino Goldbeck and his colleagues would hardly have been possible.
One of the whistleblowers in the E&G Bulgaria case, former Serbian boiler room agent Alexander Ignjatovic, died under strange circumstances in Sofia, Bulgaria, after making his statements.
The uncovering and dismantling of E&G Bulgaria was the first major success and initiated the turnaround. To this day, prosecutors from a wide range of jurisdictions are working with the results of the investigations surrounding E&G Bulgaria. This cybercrime case is for sure the door opener for European law enforcement agencies to fight scam brands, boiler rooms, and scam-facilitating marketing agencies and payment processors.