For FinTelegram readers, it is certainly no secret that we are hunting scam-supporting payment processors. These payment processors are even worse than the scams themselves. Scams come and go while payment processors stay and support new scams all the time. They know the scammers and where the money goes. They facilitate these scammers in defrauding ever-new victims. One of these evil payment processors is Russian-born Australian Vladislav “Vlad” Kogan. He has laundered hundreds of millions for dozens of scams with his Czech registered Xtrabit s.r.o. The court and victims want him for restitution payments and answers.
A court has already found Xtrabit guilty in October 2018 of acting as a scam facilitator for the Option888 scam and the companies involved in it. The court ordered Xtrabit to reimburse the victim of the Option888 binary options scam for the deposits. Neither Vlad Kogan nor his XTrabit complied with the court order; of course not! They did not pay but vanished into thin air. The court then tried to get the money through the bailiff. A visit of the bailiff of the Xtrabit office in Prague showed that it was only a virtual address. Kogan emptied the bank accounts of Xtrabit in the Czech Republic and left the country. No assets left for the victims and the courts.
Vienna Cybercrime Trials
Both Option888 scam and XTrabit are central subjects of the Vienna Cybercrime Trials. The principal of cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria, Israeli Gal Barak, was sentenced in September 2020 to four years in prison and restitution payments in the millions. Barak is currently in prison in Austria and is to be extradited to Germany. He is also facing charges there. His Bulgarian wife Marina Barak (formerly Marina Andreeva) is also charged with money laundering and investment fraud.
Her next court hearing is scheduled for May 10, 2021. The prosecutors charge her to have organized the cybercrime organization’s money laundering around the scams XtraderFX, SafeMarkets, Golden Markets, OptionStars, etc. She also used XTrabit in the process, as the files show.
The documents show that funds stolen from victims flowed to MoneyNetint Ltd and numerous offshore companies through Xtrabit. Disguised as consulting or marketing services. Oh, yes, Xtrabit was a giant laundromat. No doubt about that!
Messing around with FinTelegram
FinTelegram has brought several reports about Vlad Kogan and his scam-facilitating activities (see the report here). Kogan sued FinTelegram and one of its hosters for defamation and insisted on deletion of the reports. Neither he nor Xtrabit would have supported scams, the lawsuit claimed. Sorry, but that’s bullshit.
However, the fact is that the court upheld the lawsuit of a scam victim, which was supported by FinTelegram and the European Fund Recovery Initiative (EFRI). In its judgment, the court considered it proven that XTrabit was a scam facilitator. Vlad Kogan was the director and beneficial owner of this Czech vehicle, which even worked as a licensed payment processor as of 2017. Now Xtrabit has disappeared. The court order is here to stay and become a reference case in the EU.
Conclusion – FinTelegram’s reports and warnings were correct and should have been taken seriously by the Czech National Bank as the regulator of XTrabit. Let’s hope that regulators will draw correct conclusions from this failure to act.
We request our whistleblowers to provide us with information to determine the whereabouts of Vlad Kogan. We want to help the victims of his XTrabit to get their money back.