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BaFin issues Cease and Desist Orders against illegal payment processors Widestep and WebMaster Solutions

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Cybercrime organizations need fake companies for their business through which they can launder their illegally obtained funds. For example, the deposits of victims of scams are processed through these illegal payment processors. Many of them are German companies that are very popular among cybercriminals. These provide their bank accounts on illegal funds are laundered with false information. This week, BaFin issued a Cease and Desist Order against the two illegal payment processors, Widestep and WebMaster Solutions.

Widestep GmbH, which officially operates as an IT service provider, was already struck off in April 2020 due to a lack of assets. Maksims Cerepovs was acting as managing director. WebMasters Solution GmbH officially operates as a trading company for products around renewable energies and is still active. Stuart Patrick Brannigan, a Briton, is registered as the managing director.

These illegal payment processors are contributors to cybercriminals. They are responsible for money laundering and are an important part of cybercrime organizations. For example, criminal files from the Vienna Cybercrime Trials reveal that Oleg Shvartsman and Rainer Treuer‘s German B2G GmbH (companies register) laundered tens of millions from illegal transactions. B2G‘s clients included many cybercriminals such as Uwe Lenhoff and Gal Barak. Criminal proceedings have been ongoing against Shvartsman and Treuer since 2018. If and when the prosecutors will file charges, we do not know at the moment. In any case, people like Shvartsman and Treuer should be sentenced to restitution payments regardless of other criminal consequences.

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