Last updated on July 11, 2019
Another court meeting was scheduled for today in Sofia. The decision on the extradition of the Israeli Gal Barak to Austria was to be taken. The European authorities accuse Barak of defrauding dozens of thousand European retail investors with his illegal and fraudulent broker scams such as XTraderFX, SafeMarkets, OptionStarsGlobal or Golden Markets. Those scams alleged
Arrest of Uwe Lenhoff and Gal Barak
Gal Barak, the so-called Wolf of Sofia, was arrested in Sofia in February 2019 as part of a coordinated action by the European enforcement agencies. His partner, the German Uwe Lenhoff, was arrested in Austria. While Gal Barak was released into house arrest in Sofia for health reasons and fights his extradition to Austria from there, Lenhoff is currently in custody in Germany. He is accused of financial crime, fraud and money laundering. He and his accomplices are to be accused in Germany of operating a criminal organization, among other things (read German Tagesschau report here).
Partners Shalon and Smirnov
Lenhoff and Barak are said to have worked closely together with the Russian Vladislav (Vlad) Smirnov and the Israeli Gery (Gabi) Shalon. Smirnov was responsible for the operation of illegal payment platforms. He operates illegal payment service providers such as DreamsPay or Binex Group LP where he works with the Ukraine frontman Leonid Olshevsky. Not only the EU authorities investigate the Binex Group but also their fellows in Montenegro. It is suspected that Binex Group was also involved in the massive money laundering scheme around the Montenegrin Atlas Banka.
The money stolen from European retail investors is said to have been used, among other things, to finance a new online casino project. Gery Shalon, who is currently waiting in the U.S. for his trial on charges of financial crime and money laundering is said to be responsible for this casino venture. The Israeli Simon Tetroashvili evidently plays a decisive role in this money laundering scheme. He is said to have laundered Gal Barak‘s money via his companies Online Prospect (Hong Kong) and
Political Power Games
The extradition of Gal Barak apparently has the potential to develop into a political power struggle between the EU and Bulgaria. The corresponding EU arrest warrants have been issued against Barak, but so far Barak’s Austrian and Bulgarian lawyers have managed to delay the extradition.
Barak allegedly pays millions in so-called protection money in Bulgaria and has thus bought himself a close relationship with Prime Minister Boyko