Illegal broker and scam schemes require enabling payment service providers (PSPs). Without collaborating PSPs these scams could not rip off customers. Therefore, the scam artists were more than happy about the dawn of cryptocurrencies. Finally ripping off without leaving traces in the banking and financial system. However, in the era of binary options and forex scams from 2012 to 2018, PSPs were of paramount importance to operators of illegal broker schemes. We start our cartography of PSPs with the Czech Xtrabit s.r.o., which plays an important role in some illegal brokerage and gambling schemes.
eteran Vladislav “Vlad” Kogan
Xtrabit s.r.o., based in Prague, Czech Republic, was founded in March 2014. The managing director and official sole shareholder of the company is Vladislav “Vlad” Kogan (born 1973), an Australian born in Krasnodar, Russia.
He is a FOREX veteran and as such has been involved in numerous questionable FOREX projects such as
Vlad Kogan was also involved in some platforms with trading binary options. Since the beginning of 2017, the Australian has also been registered as a managing director and shareholder of Finatec s.r.o.
Money laundering V
ia Xtrabit s.r.o.
According to the information available to us, there are already complaints against Xtrabit s.r.o. and Vladislav Kogan for money laundering. The Czech investigating authorities should already be active in this respect, we heard. On the basis of whistleblower reports, we can conclude that Xtrabit was primarily used to facilitate bank wires from clients (victims) of the illegal broker platforms of Uwe Lenhoff (Veltyco Group) and Gal Barak (E&G Bulgaria and Tradologic). However, Xtrabit was only one of several (many) PSP vehicles in their schemes. Moreover, broker schemes work with several layers of PSPs and have developed quite an art in this.
From Xtrabit, for example, money transfers were made to boiler room operators such as Global TactiCall s.r.o. in the Czech Republic or the Silkline Group in Kosovo or to online marketing & and traffic-driving companies such as Street Smart Enterprise.
Xtrabit forwarded payments to the operating entities of illegal broker sites such as XTraderFX or Option888. Typically, those payments are relabeled when processed by PSPs. The customers of the illegal broker schemes deposit money for trading purposes with Xtrabit. Consequently, the PSP relabels (launders) the transactions into “marketing”, “technical support” or “consulting” and the monies disappear into the scheme operator’s bank accounts.
Finally, Xtrabit also funneled customer funds directly to the private sphere of Uwe Lenhoff and Gal Barak and their respective companies such as Winslet Enterprises Ltd or New Markets S.A. Those perpetrators typically entertain expensive lifestyles that consume quite a lot of their clients’ money. Well, someone has to pay for their Bentleys, Porsches, and Gucci dressings.
For the purposes of their money laundering activities, this PSPs maintain bank accounts with various banks or credit card companies (preferably in the EU). Customers of illegal brokers are requested to make bank wires to the PSP bank accounts. From there, the funds are then often transferred to other accounts of the respective PSP with other banks and ultimately transferred to the operators of the illegal broker schemes and their partner companies, deducting a fat commission. Et voilà, investors’ money vanished into thin air.
The Australian Connection
In the Australian Business Register, Xtrabit is a business name associated with the registered Australian company Dealtex Capital PTY Ltd, a precious metals and gold bullion trading company. The latter is also connected with a Transxpress Payment Service registered in Dubai. We found bank wire transactions between Xtrabit and this Transxpress payment service and thus can confirm the relationship.
From FinTelegram’s point of view, there is not the least doubt that Vlad Kogan and his Xtrabit s.r.o. are facilitators of those illegal broker schemes and systematically launder their money. Xtrabit is one of the money laundering machines in the networks of Uwe Lenhoff and Gal Barak.
In the USA, these offenses are usually reported as wire fraud or mail fraud and are threatened with up to 20 years in prison.
Report Xtrabit Findings
If you have any information on Xtrabit and/or broker or scam schemes associated with this illegal PSP please share them with the FinTelegram team using the whistleblower system.