Disclaimer: the charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
In early September 2020, Gal Barak, the former Wolf of Sofia, was sentenced to four years in prison and reparations payments for investment fraud and money laundering. It was the first of the Vienna Cybercrime Trials (#VCT). The Israeli principal of the cybercrime organization of E&G Bulgaria is responsible for tens of thousands of scam victims in the EU. Now the charges against his partner and wife Marina Barak became legally effective. As a former financial manager of E&G Bulgaria, she is accused of money laundering. The trial will start early next year.
Master of millions
Marina Barak (formerly Marina Andreeva) is the Bulgarian wife of Gal Barak. The marriage took place in 2019 when it was clear that the EU authorities wanted Barak’s extradition. She was the master of the millions of stolen funds and organized its laundering.
Marina Barak had the Power of Attorney (POA) in most of the cybercrime organization’s scam-operating legal entities. She was responsible for moving the funds stolen from retail investors (victims) of scams such as XTraderFX, SafeMarkets, OptionStars, Golden Markets, or CryptoPoint via offshore entities and facilitating payment processors. Literally, thousands of payment transactions have been approved and/or organized by her. Thus she was responsible for the money laundering and is accused accordingly. Moreover, she was very close to Gal Barak’s friends and partners Gery Shalon and Vladislav Smirnov.
It was also Marina Barak who bought land in Bulgaria with part of the money of the defrauded EU small investors. These, as well as some bank accounts, are currently confiscated. Read this FinTelegram report here about the real estate transactions.
In close cooperation with law enforcement, lawyers, and courts, the European Funds Recovery Initiative (EFRI) is working on using the seized funds for restitution payments. EFRI has been co-founded by FinTelegram.
A chatty prisoner
Gal Barak is currently in prison in Austria. He is also to be charged in Germany and other countries. We have heard that Barak is very chatty after his conviction and apparently snitches on his former partners and co-conspirators. Apparently he wants to buy his way out of further charges and further prison sentences. Whether this strategy works we will see. In any case, the various law enforcement authorities want to bring some more charges against Barak’s former partners.
In a few years, the #VCT will be considered a milestone and hopefully a turning point in the fight against cybercrime in the EU.