Israeli online entrepreneurs have annexed two cities in Europe – Limassol and Belgrade. The boiler room scene in Belgrade, the Manhattan of the Balkans, is still vibrant. We started our series with perhaps the most notorious boiler room operator in Belgrade, the Cyprus resident Armin Ordodary. With his Bizserve DOO, he runs a boiler room whose agents attack customers in Europe with various scams. Cypriot Nikos Andreou is also active in Belgrade through his boiler rooms Parogan and Olympus Prime. As is Pantelakis Kyriakou. But let’s properly unfold the story.
The European Headquarters
Cyprus is the European center of Israel’s financial industry. The headquarters of CySEC-regulated investment firms are located there, and Israeli payment processors such as Praxis Cashier and BridgerPay have also set up shop there. Limassol is a booming city thanks to the Israeli finance industry. For Cyprus, the Israeli financial center in Limassol is vital. Jobs are created, and money flows into the country. Not always clean money, but money. The local economy, CySEC, and the state live on this. Without the Israeli investment firms, CySEC would sink into insignificance.
Belgrade hosts many call centers are a/k/a boiler rooms behind the legal and illegal brokers. The boiler room agents like to call themselves financial advisors, which is why Belgrade became the Manhatten of the Balkans. It’s a high vibrant city, indeed. The boiler room scene in Belgrade was invented by the Israelis. At the peak of the binary options industry, up to 6,000 Israelis worked and partied in Belgrade. The local gastronomy can tell many stories in this regard.
The connection between Cyprus and Belgrade is close, as can be seen in the ownership of the boiler rooms.
The Cypriot shareholders
Both Nikos Andreou and Pantelakis Kyriakou are the sole shareholders of three of Belgrade’s top five boiler rooms. While Pantelakis Kyriakou is the sole shareholder of Asgard DOO (LinkedIn), his fellow compatriot holds the shares of Olympus Prime DOO and Parogan DOO. At Asgard (what a name) and Olympus Prime, the Serbian Svetlana Maksovic (pictured right) is registered as a director. At Parogan, the well-connected lawyer Max-Sebastian Winterfeldt serves as a director. Parogan is the leading boiler room in Belgrade and has a long tradition of running scams (see LinkedIn ad left).
All three boiler room operators are secretive about their operations. They either have no websites or presences on social media platforms and/or provide only minimal information online. As usual, boiler room operators describe themselves as either marketing agencies, call centers, or outsourcing specialists. Sometimes also as financial advisors.
The local managers
Both Olympus Prime and Asgard (LinkedIn) run boiler rooms specializing in retention management under Svetlana Maksovic (pictured right). One of Olympus Prime‘s retention managers is Aleksa Jeremic (LinkedIn). The company’s HR Manager is Dragana Jaksic (LinkedIn), who previously worked at competitor Parogan. Darko Petrovic (LinkedIn) is a retention specialist at Asgard. From the job description on LinkedIn, we can rule out that Olympus Prime and Asgard are marketing agencies. But that was obvious anyway.
Paragon (website) is a different animal. Its director Max-Sebastian Winterfeldt, born in Serbia in 1971, worked for the Serbian law firm Borozan Winterfeldt until 2004. After that, he worked for German companies Porsche and WAZ, among others. He speaks fluent German. That’s a natural fit for the director of a boiler room notorious for attacking German-speaking consumers and investors.
Parogan claims on his website to be a world-leading digital advertising company. The website, however, is so bad that it is laughable. It speaks volumes that Parogan has deleted its social media accounts. If you click on the social media icons on its website, you won’t get anywhere. On LinkedIn, you get a message that the profile no longer exists. People apparently want to work less publicly and in the dark. A world-leading online marketing agency?
Both Serbian directors, Max-Sebastian Winterfeldt and Svetlana Maksovic, were continuously expanding their companies. They are paid very generously to do so. They earn a small fortune by defrauding European investors.
The information available to us concludes that Israeli entrepreneurs indeed control Parogan, Olympus Prime, and Asgard. At Parogan, Gal Barak and his partner Gery Shalon were involved in the past. This was confirmed to us by local sources who also operated other boiler rooms and payment processors in Belgrade with Barak. However, no details are actually known about their actual involvement in Parogan. It should be safe to say, however, that Parogan is under Israeli ownership.