Dutch Justice Scandal: Payvision CEO Walks Free While Tornado Cash Developer Faces Draconian Sentence!

Disgraced payvision founder Rudolf Booker and his yacht Kiss
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The Dutch judiciary has reached a new low with its handling of the Payvision scandal, revealing a glaring double standard that tarnishes the reputation of the Netherlands as a financial center. Investigations by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) have exposed the massive involvement of Payvision, under the leadership of Rudolf Booker, in money laundering activities that fueled cybercrime organizations like Gal Barak’s. While Austria sentenced Barak to several years in prison in 2020 for defrauding consumers of over €200 million, the Dutch authorities have inexplicably closed the criminal investigations against Payvision and Booker.

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The evidence against Payvision is damning. Court documents show that Booker not only knew about the criminal activities of his clients but actively advised them on how to launder stolen money through offshore companies and Payvision. The criminal files of the Austrian and German law enforcement agencies show that the Dutch law enforcement agents involved in the Payvision case did not request any court documents. This was despite the fact that it had long been public knowledge via FinTelegram or Dutch media such as Follow The Money that investigations were underway against Payvision’s customers. This is more than incomprehensible. Cooperation within the EU should actually be the standard.

Booker, the step-son of one of the richest men in the Netherlands, Frits Goldschmedig, managed to inflate Payvision’s value with these illicit transactions, selling it to ING in 2018 for €360 million, enriching himself at the expense of the victims of scams operated by Payvision‘s clients. In 2021, ING shut down Payvision, acknowledging that the transactions were incompatible with its ethical standards—a fact that raises serious questions about ING’s due diligence process during the acquisition.

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The stark contrast between the treatment of Alexey Pertsev, the Tornado Cash developer, and Rudolf Booker, the CEO of Payvision, is nothing short of scandalous. Maybe it’s because Booker is a Dutchman who has a good network through his rich family and Pertsev is a Russian without a network in Amsterdam. But a proper justice system should not really take that into account.

Pertsev, who merely developed open-source software, was sentenced to over five years in prison for allegedly facilitating money laundering. Yet, Booker, who directly orchestrated and profited from illegal activities, walks free. If the standards applied to Pertsev were used in Booker’s case, he would face a much harsher sentence, reflecting his direct involvement and leadership in the criminal operations.

Victims of Payvision’s clients are now filing lawsuits against ING and Payvision in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. These legal actions highlight the ongoing struggle for justice by tens of thousands of consumers defrauded with Payvision’s support. However, Dutch criminal investigations have been closed, citing a lack of intent from Booker and his associates—a baffling conclusion given the extensive documentation of their deliberate actions.

The Dutch judiciary’s leniency towards Booker is a disgrace. He was not just a developer on the sidelines but the CEO who personally advised cybercriminals. The decision to close the investigations is a blatant mistake, especially when compared to the harsh verdict against Pertsev. This inconsistency exposes a judicial system that is willing to let major players in financial crime off the hook while punishing lesser figures to set an example.

The Payvision case should have been a landmark ruling against financial crimes, demonstrating the Netherlands’ commitment to justice and ethical business practices. Instead, it showcases a judiciary that fails to hold powerful executives accountable, undermining trust in the Dutch financial system and its regulatory frameworks.

The outrage is palpable. How can two similar cases of facilitating money laundering be judged so differently within the same legal system? The Dutch judiciary’s handling of Payvision and Booker versus Tornado Cash and Pertsev is not just a legal discrepancy but a monumental scandal that demands immediate rectification. The integrity of Amsterdam as a financial center hangs in the balance, and the world is watching how the Netherlands will respond to this glaring injustice.

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