This criminal anecdote is entertaining and worth telling. A foreign citizen is extradited to Austria on the legal grounds of an EU arrest warrant. After overcoming many bureaucratic hurdles and he finally sits in custody in an Austrian prison awaiting the trial. The suspect is to be charged with investment fraud and money laundering. Hence, one concludes that his defense counsel is particularly sensitive to the issue of money laundering and potential asset misappropriation. Wrong thought. We are talking about the Israeli citizen Gal Barak and his also charged wife, the Bulgarian citizen Marina Barak.
The expensive Mr. Lewisch
Barak’s defense lead attorney, the university professor Peter Lewisch from the law firm Cerha Hempel even helps his client in the attempt to move assets. Back in December 2019, Barak tried to grant his wife (also accused of money laundering) the power of attorney (POA) over the bank account of his real estate company Fisher Properties Ltd. from the Austrian prison.
According to his defender Peter Lewisch, Gal Barak is a penniless but capable and honorable man who puts his life in the service of religion and charity. The question arises at this point, who will then pay the costs of Lewisch of about €400,000 that have been incurred so far. These will probably be paid from the money Barak has stolen from victims.
POA to access stolen money
From the criminal files (ON 612), one can see that on December 27, 2020, Gal Barak, with the help of his lawyers, wanted to grant his wife Marina Barak (aka Marina Andreeva) a power of attorney (POA) for FISHER PROPERTIES while sitting in the Austrian prison. With this POA his wife could have disposed of the assets and/or bank account of the company (read here more on FISHER PROPERTIES). But the investigating authorities and the prison management have apparently stopped this. Marina Barak is currently also accused but has appealed against it.
Gal Barak wanted to give his wife the POA for the very same account at the Bulgarian Eurobank to which the stolen money of the victims of the scams was transferred to invest in real estate (see FinTelegram report here).
To facilitate the transaction, Barak’s lawyers requested that Barak be handed over his confiscated passport so that he can sign the POA before Austrian notaries. The lawyers refer to an allegedly existing permission of the public prosecutor’s office. The problem? Understandably, this permission has never existed. It would also be crazy to give someone accused of money laundering the opportunity to move assets.
Victims are to blame
We are talking about the intended asset transfer of an accused cybercriminal facilitated by his Austrian lawyer Peter Lewisch. This in itself may well establish a criminal offense. Gal Barak was sentenced on September 1, 2020, by the court to four years in prison after he had made a confession.
In court, Lewisch accused the victims of Gal Barak that they themselves were to blame if they had believed the promises on the website and from the Barak employees. The victims would have known that it was all just a gamble. They would have preferred to take care of their family rather than wasting their time gambling on Barak’s websites. So essentially the argumentation of Lewisch. It is only logical that he wanted to support Barak or his wife in getting rid of the stolen money. Is it not?