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FCA-regulated payment institution Connectum was a notorious scam facilitator and money launderer for the fraudulent Israeli broker scene. It processed payments for the cybercrime organization of the convicted Israeli Gal Barak. At least until a few months ago, Connectum has been working closely with the Russian-controlled high-risk payment processor Hawex, in which the notorious Indo-British Ruchi Rathor is also involved. Whistleblowers have provided us with data exposing Hawex merchants billed through Connectum.
|Business activities||High-risk payment processor|
Visa and MasterCard Acquirer
|Legal entity||Connectum Limited|
|Authorization||FCA (reference no 624117)|
|Related individuals||Edgars Lasmanis (former director and owner)|
Sokha Heng (controlling person)
|Connected schemes||Hawex, HoneyPay|
The Connectum Story
Connectum is a Principal Member Acquirer of Mastercard & Visa. Until October 2020, the Latvian Edgars Lasmanis was the controlling owner of Connectum. He was replaced by the Cambodian Sokha Heng, a politically exposed person (PEP) and the wife of former Transport Ministry secretary of state Ing Bun Hoaw. She controls more than 75% of the company’s shares, UK Companies House says.
From at least 2017 to 2019, Connectum laundered millions of illegal proceeds of the scams of the cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria and transferred them to the bank accounts of offshore companies of the cybercrime organization.
The Hawex Story
Hawex is an FCA-authorized electronic money agent (EMD Agent) of the FCA-authorized e-Money Institution Paystree Limited.
Until March 2022, UK-registered Hawex Group Ltd was controlled by the Russian Kirill Baldakov. Since October 2022, it has been controlled through Dubai-based Hawex Investment LLC, owned by Russians and Indian-British Ruchi Rathor. The director registered in the UK entity is Latvian Jevgenijs Marenics. The Similarweb data (right)for the last three months for Connectum suggests that the FCA-authorized payment processor does a significant amount of business with Russia.
According to the documents available to us, Hawex merchants processed more than €81 million through Connectum in June. The merchants come almost exclusively from the high-risk areas of gambling, crypto, or online marketing. Most of these high-risk merchants are based in Cyprus, followed by the UK and Estonia.
According to information available to FinTelegram, Hawex was referred to Connectum through the Russian high-risk payment processor HoneyPay.
If you have any information about Connectum, Hawex, or HoneyPay, please share it with us through our whistleblower system, Whistle42.