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EFRI Petition to extradite Gal Barak, shut down boiler rooms and fight cybercrime

Last updated on August 13, 2019

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The hot fight against Cybercrime

This summer is not only hot in terms of temperatures at record levels. The fight against cyberscams and cybercrime is at least as hot as the temperatures. In recent years, cybercriminals have largely been able to pursue their crimes without being prosecuted and have thus lastingly disrupted confidence in digital financial markets. This must come to an end!

In the U.S., a precedent has been set in the fight against cyberscams in the Yukom case with the conviction of former Yukom CEO Lee Elbaz by the U.S. authorities. Lee Elbaz was Yukom’s CEO and thus responsible for operating boiler rooms behind different broker scams. In the U.S. trial, the prosecutors explained in great detail how this investment fraud via broker scams and boiler rooms worked. Previously, five former employees had already pleaded guilty to the Yukom investment scam. Further indictments in the Yukom case are underway. The U.S. authorities are thus sending a clear signal to scammers, perpetrators, and fraudsters.

In Europe, the case involving E&G Bulgaria, led by the Israeli Gal Barak and his network is as significant as that of Lee Elbaz and Yukom in the fight against cybercrime and online investment fraud.

European precedent E&G Bulgaria and Gal Barak

The European authorities are very well aware that cybercrime must be tackled immediately and vigorously. Cyberscam attacks produce tens of thousands of victims every year and cause hundreds of millions if not billions of damages to individuals, organizations, and the states. The “revenues” of cyberscam organizations are still rising sharply. These cyberscams pose a direct and present threat to our digital financial system and our digital civil society.

The case of Gal Barak and one of his partners, the German Uwe Lenhoff, is indeed the first time that European authorities have taken coordinated action against these vast cyberscam organizations. EU arrest warrants were issued against Gal Barak and Uwe Lenhoff on the ground of compelling evidence after more than a year of investigations of different EU authorities.

While Lenhoff is in custody in Germany, Gal Barak was released into “house arrest” after his initial detainment in Sofia and continues to operate his scams and boiler rooms with his mostly Israeli accomplices. From Bulgaria! We have evidence that his boiler room operation continues to work and even expands into new areas! For months, the Austrian authorities tried in vain to get the Bulgarian authorities to extradite Gal Barak to Austria.

EFRI and the Victims Petition for European Cybercrime Justice

Yes, Gal Barak is considered innocent by law, but he is strongly suspected by authorities in several EU countries of being one of the masterminds behind broker scams such as XTraderFX, SafeMarkets, OptionStarsGlobal, Golden Markets, or CryptoMarkets. Furthermore, the authorities suspect him and E&G Bulgaria, which he controls, to be the operators of boiler rooms in Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Thousands of victims accuse Gal Barak and his organization of having stolen money from them. Consequently, he has to answer to the authorities, to the courts, and, finally, to the victims. Like any other citizen and resident. That is how it works in constitutional states in the West and in Israel. You cannot avoid this responsibility by running away or hiding from it.

These boiler rooms are illegal and must be shut down! Immediately! Otherwise, their employees will continue to cheat investors across Europe and destroy confidence in the financial system. That is clearly the responsibility of the competent authorities.

The EFRI Victims Petition for European Cybercrime Justice wants to make the Bulgarian public prosecutors’ office aware of their part of this responsibility. Measures must be taken to relentlessly uncover the huge fraud with broker scams and boiler rooms. And to put a definitive end to these illegal activities.

Bulgarian Public Prosecutors’ Office and Embassies

The extradition of Gal Barak to Austria for questioning is a conditio sine qua non. Not only for the E&G Bulgaria case itself, but for the fight against cybercrime in Europe in general. Now is the time to set signals and take measures.

On 16 August 2019, there will again be a court hearing in Sofia in which the extradition of Gal Barak should be decided. Every citizen and resident in the EU has the constitutional obligation to answer to official accusations. Hence, also Gal Barak. That is what the Petition wants to achieve!

Through the EFRI Victims Petition for European Cybercrime Justice, the short-term dispatch of letters from victims and supporters to the Bulgarian Prosecutor General, Sotir Tsatsarov, and the respective diplomatic representatives of the victims in Bulgaria will be organized. This should also be a “Bat-Signal”, i.e. a sign that cybercrime has no place in Europe! And, well, Bulgaria is part of the EU.

We, therefore, ask you to support the EFRI petition and to make it known through social media. It concerns us all. Not only the victims! Together we can make an impact!

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