Veltyco Cybercrime Trials started today in Germany

Trial against Jacki-Tal Fitelzon starts
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In Saarbruecken, Germany, the cybercrime trials against the so-called Veltyco Cybercrime Scheme started. The scheme’s alleged mastermind, Uwe Lenhoff, died in prison in July 2020. Cause of death unknown. Some of his lieutenants and co-conspirators have to stand trial nevertheless. According to the prosecutors, they allegedly cheated more than 1,100 German investors out of almost €42 million. The trial started with the 29-year-old Kosovo guy Azem Spahiu. He and his friend Betim Tasholli have been operating boiler rooms for the cybercrime scheme in Kosovo.

At least between May 2016 and early 2019, boiler room agents promised investors huge profits when investing in their binary options scams such as Option888, XMarkets, or ZoomTrader. The truth, however, is that the investor deposits were not used for binary options trading. Actually, there was no trading at all. The money flowed into the pockets of the fraudsters, the prosecutor Victoria Haenel argued. The investors had become “victims of a large-scale fraud,” she said. Under the guidance of alleged brokers, investors conducted business transactions via the portals in manipulated simulations – with the highest loss amounting to an eye-watering €5.5 million.

Azem Spahiu and Betim Tasholli

In this first “Saarbruecken Round,” three lieutenants of the Veltyco Cybercrime Scheme are charged. Besides Azem Spahiu (left in the left picture), his compatriot and partner Betim Tasholli (right in the left picture) and a third suspect will be tried. However, they are currently not available for the court. Spahiu’s defense lawyer indicated that his client might plead guilty and provide ample testimony.

Only the losses of the approximately 1,100 Austrian and German victims are being addressed in this trial. However, the Veltyco Cybercrime Scheme produced more than 200,000 victims worldwide with estimated damage of $122 million.

The Payvision connection

Payvision laundered money for its scam clients

The criminal files show that a significant part of the money of the victims of the binary options scams was laundered through the Dutch Payvision. Rudolf Booker, the founder and then CEO of Payvision was a close business partner of Uwe Lenhoff and had also hired him as a distributor. In this capacity, Lenhoff acquired other scam operators as merchants for Payvision. Based on these fraud merchants and their illicit transaction volumes, Booker and his co-founders sold Payvision to ING at a valuation of €360 million. It remains to be seen if and how Payvision and Rudolf Booker will be incriminated by the prosecution, suspects, and witnesses in the upcoming trials.

Stay tuned, we will continue the reports on the trial and its background.

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