Broker Scam Investigations in Germany – Names of Suspects disclosed

ZoomTrader and Uwe Lenhoff with Gal Barak
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The investigations of the EU authorities into broker scams involving the German Uwe Lenhoff and his partners Gal Barak, Gery Shalon and Vladislav Smirnov are progressing. The proceedings are complicated and are carried out in several jurisdictions. Hence, it takes some time but it seems that finally, the authorities are getting the perpetrators and their co-conspirators.

The large number of victims of the broker scams around Option888, XTraderFX, SafeMarkets, OptionStarsGlobal or ZoomTrader is expected to lead to charges against the trading persons in different jurisdictions. The German public prosecutor’s office in Saarbrücken has now revealed which persons are suspects and are likely to be charged.

The website Anwalt.de published the names for the prosecution in Germany:

  • Uwe Karsten Lenhoff (scheme principal and mastermind)
  • Betim Tasholli (lieutenant and boiler room manager)
  • Mohamad Shaker (lieutenant and boiler room manager)
  • Patrik Kirch
  • Roberto Pezzoni
  • Noa Hanauer
  • Jan Kowalski
  • Matthias Keller
  • Angelo Cogodda
  • Thomas Schwartz
  • Tatiana Nowak
  • Uwe Ernst Lehnhof
  • Azem Spa-hiu

The Bulgarian Challenge

While the principal and mastermind of the scheme, Uwe Lenhoff, has been in custody since the beginning of 2019, an EU arrest warrant was issued against his Israeli partner Gal Barak at the beginning of 2019. He is currently under house arrest in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Austrian authorities have requested extradition.

The two remaining masterminds Gery “Gabi” Shalon and Vladislav “Vlad” Smirnov are under investigation. Shalon was arrested in Israel at the beginning of 2015 and extradited to the United States. There he is facing charges of hacking JP Morgan and other financial institutions, money laundering and DDoS extortion.

The Russian Vladislav Smirnov does business in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Austria, Serbia, Israel, and Montenegro. He is considered the closest confidant of Shalon and Barak. Parts of Barak’s, Shalon’s and Smirnov’s funds may have been frozen in various banks, among others in the meanwhile collapsed Atlas Banka (Montenegro).

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