Undeterred by the coronavirus, prosecutors and police from Germany, Austria, Serbia and Bulgaria carried out a series of raids and arrests against alleged financial fraudsters, German police announced in a press release on Tuesday.
The “action day,” as it was dubbed by law enforcement, took place on April 2 in Serbia and Bulgaria. Serbian police arrested five suspects and Bulgarian police arrested four. The raids occurred in spite of “restrictions and special challenges associated with the corona pandemic,” the press release said.
The suspects were all allegedly call center agents for two groups of websites: One consisted of XTraderFX, Cryptopoint, SafeMarkets, OptionStarsGlobal and GoldenMarkets, and the other of Trade Capital, Fibonetix, Nobel Trade and Forbslab. Together these websites allegedly defrauded thousands of investors from all over Europe out of over $100 million, German police said.
The first five websites are associated with Gal Barak, an Israeli who was arrested in Bulgaria in February 2019 and has since been extradited to Austria. These five websites also ran on the software platform Tradologic, whose founder, former Israeli intelligence officer Ilan Tzorya, is a major donor to the Ukrainian village of Anatevka where Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is honorary mayor.
The nine suspects were seven men and two women between the ages of 25 and 49. German police said they were all “top brokers” who were especially skilled at allegedly stealing large sums of money.
In Serbia, police confiscated apartments and cars, while Bulgarian and Serbian police raided two alleged call centers. Meanwhile, German police reportedly confiscated almost 2.5 million euros from an account with the payment service provider Wirecard.
According to German police, the alleged fraudsters pretended to provide digital platforms for a wide variety of financial instruments. These included binary options (until they were outlawed in Europe in March 2018) and, more recently, CFDs, forex and cryptocurrencies.
According to the press release, investors would open an account with the provider’s website by depositing an initial 250-300 euros, and then would be persuaded by specially trained brokers or agents by phone, chat or email to invest larger and larger sums into their accounts.
“The money is distributed through a complex money laundering network installed across Europe,” the press release said.
“The perpetrator groups operate call centers abroad, in which dozens of people with the necessary foreign language skills commit fraud using aliases. The perpetrators use all conceivable concealment techniques at all levels.”
“The truth is that there is no investment or placement of options and no repayment or profit distribution of investor funds. The deposited funds are never added to an investment, the trading platform visible to the customer as well as the alleged customer account are pure deception,” the German police press release concluded.