On 8 July 2020, the trial against the alleged Israeli scammer Gal Barak begins in Vienna. Following investigations by the authorities in several EU countries, Barak, together with his Bulgarian wife Marina Barak (formerly Marina Andreeva) and a loyal team of Israeli comrades-in-arms, ran the cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria EOOD. Through this Bulgarian company, numerous broker scams including the corresponding boiler rooms were operated. However, Barak was only one of three partners in a global cybercrime organization to which E&G Bulgaria was related. The notorious Israeli scammer, hacker, and DDoS warrior Gery “Gabi” Shalon is the boss of this organization and the pink elephant in the Vienna trial.
Mysterious death and $200 million missing
Gal Barak worked closely with the German Uwe Lenhoff. In Montenegro, they had jointly used the illegal payment processor Global Payment Solutions DOO, through which they received funds stolen from EU retail investors. Lenhoff was also arrested in early 2019. He has been waiting for his trial in a German prison for more than 500 days. Lenhoff was found dead in his cell on July 6, 2020, less than 48 hours before the start of the trial against Barak. The cause of death is not yet known.
According to a former partner of the Barak’s who is also a suspect in this criminal case, Barak’s cybercrime organization is said to have defrauded more than 30,000 small investors of well over $200 million. Currently, only Gal Barak is in charged in the Vienna trial. This is also for tactical reasons of the authorities. Should Barak be convicted in Vienna, further charges in other EU countries will probably follow. Moreover, additional charges will be filed against his former accomplices and partners.
The Israeli Cybercrime Kingpin
The pink elephant in the Vienna courtroom will be the Israeli Gery “Gabi” Shalon. In fact, Shalon was something like the boss of Barak who ran E&G Bulgaria for him. Shalon was arrested in Israel in 2015 and extradited to the United States. The U.S. prosecutors charge him with quite some crimes comprising securities fraud, hacking financial institutions, money-laundering, and DDoS attacks.
As alleged, Shalon also orchestrated computer network hacks and cyberattacks in furtherance of other major criminal schemes, including unlawful internet casinos and illicit payment processors which Shalon operated with Orenstein. Shalon also owned and controlled an illegal U.S.-based Bitcoin exchange known as Coin.mx. Shalon and Orenstein were arrested in July 2015 by the Israel Police on an indictment that charged the underlying securities fraud, and they remain in custody in Israel pending extradition on those charges.U.S. Department of justice, press release November 10, 2015
In a remarkable article published in Nov 2015, the Wall Street Journal called “Gabi the Georgian” a product of Israel’s underbelly.
Shalon spent some time in New York jail after extradition in 2016, was released on bail of more than $400 million, and is under U.S. regulatory supervision. His trial has been delayed because Shalon allegedly cooperates with the US authorities and provides them with information against Russian cybercriminals. Most recently, Shalon’s information apparently led to the arrest and extradition of the Russian hacker Andrei Tyurin, a former partner of Shalon’s.
The Organization behind Barak
Barak, Shalon, and their Russian partner, payment expert and scam veteran Vladislav Smirnov were the “family” behind E&G Bulgaria. The latter was just one division in the globally organized cybercrime organization dealing with broker scams, online casinos, cryptocurrencies businesses, payment services, and money-laundering.
FinTelegram has the records of conversations and communications between the Baraks, Shalon and Smirnov, which prove the existence of the “family” and also show beyond any reasonable doubt that Shalon, as well as Smirnov, were actively involved in the business of E&G Bulgaria. The authorities have also recognized this and therefore declared both Shalon and Smirnov as persons of interest.
We have the reasonable suspicion that “Gabi the Georgian” is behind the massive DDoS attacks on the FinTelegram sites. Apparently he wants to prevent us from covering the cybercrime case.
Shalon could come under massive pressure from statements by Barak and the findings of the Vienna trial. At some point, the FBI will also have to answer the question of how a suspect under FBI surveillance can continue his cybercrime activities unhindered. Incompetence or intent?