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The $5 Million Offer To Buy FinTelegram Into A Cybercrime Network

Early January 2019, the FinTelegram CEO has been contacted by the Israeli lawyer Nir Porat who represented Gal Barak. He asked for a meeting with Gal Barak to provide additional information to FinTelegram. Evidently, Gal Barak wanted to provide his view on Tradologic and his illegal broker schemes FinTelegram has been reported about. This was of course highly appreciated by FinTelegram. Consequently, it was agreed to have a meeting in Vienna on Jan 15, 2018, to work through the many questions in the context of Gal Barak‘s businesses. At least this was the plan. But things developed differently.

The Surprising $5 Million Offer

On Jan 15, 2018, Gal Barak and his bodyguard arrived in Vienna. The meeting was carefully prepared by FinTelegram and the involved lawyers. Gal Barak and the FinTelegram CEO met in a nice Viennese hotel. Surprisingly, Gal Barak then said that he is not interested to talk about FinTelegram or the articles or his business at all. He informed the surprised FinTelegram CEO about hostile actions that would have been planned by Barak’s business partner Uwe Lenhoff against FinTelegram and indicated a solution.

Gal Barak explained that he and his partners Gery “Gabi” Shalon and Vladislav Smirnov (aka Vladislav Khokholkov) would like me to join their network. He offered to establish an investment fund with $5 Million of which our FinTelegram CEO would receive 25% without having to invest. Furthermore, our CEO would be the one who runs this fund Gal suggested. Think about it: 25% in a company with $5 Million cash would be worth more than a million. For free. Plus, $500.000 would be transferred immediately to enable the setup of the fund and pay for our CEO’s expenses. So, in total $5.5 million has been offered to our FinTelegram CEO for joining their network. What an honor, right?

Later that day two more FinTelegram people joined the meeting and the four guys then went for a beer. Gal Barak repeated the offer and argued that it was actually Gery Shalon‘s plan. Furthermore, Gal Barak confirmed that he is responsible for the operation of fraudulent broker schemes like XTraderFX, SafeMarkets, or Golden Markets and Cryptopoint and emarketstrade. We agreed to stay in touch and continue the discussion. The meetings have been recorded of course and closely watched by the authorities.

The FinTelegram EFRI Proposal

On the very next day, Gal Barak set up a WhatsApp group with Gery Shalon, Vladislav Smirnov, the FinTelegram CEO and himself to discuss the project. The group was named the “Fund project”. Over the next couple of hours, Gery Shalon extensively laid out his ideas and plans and visions. Our CEO had a list of questions he wanted to have answered in the course of the discussion. It was agreed that our CEO will deliver his ideas the next day.

Consequently, it was proposed by our CEO to use their millions to establish an EFRI Fund to compensate disappointed online investors. FinTelegram is one of the founders of the European Funds Recovery Initiative (EFRI) with the goal to recover funds for defrauded investors. Hence, taking theses perpetrators money to establish an EFRI Fund made complete sense to FinTelegram and would have helped defrauded investors. Even the investors lawyers appreciated the idea. But guess what – Gery Shalon, Vladislav Smirnov and Gal Barak didn’t like it too much. Paying money to investors. Even though or because our CEO explained to them that this is a “good guy” project.

To make a long story short. Uwe Lenhoff and Gal Barak have been arrested by the authorities a few days later in a coordinated action of German, Austrian, and Bulgarian police.


The U.S. prosecutors indicted the Israeli Gery Shalon in 2015 and exposed his global cybercrime enterprise. He was arrested in 2016 and released after a purported plea agreement with a payment of $403 million (read this Calcalist article). According to sources close to the case, Shalon cooperated closely with the U.S. authorities and snitched on his co-conspirators. Hence, most of them have been arrested. But his cybercrime enterprise keeps on working.

The Vladislav Smirnov is a legendary scammer and hacker. He is an expert in payment processing platforms and connected with Dreams Pay Solutions, Net Pay. According to Spamhaus Smirnov goes under the alias BadCow or “John from Montreal” which is in line with information FinTelegram received from him. He used to live in Montreal, Canada, for a year.

The meetings and communications with Gery Shalon, Vladislav Smirnov, and Gal Barak delivered a lot of data and provided additional evidence on FinTelegran’s core hypothesis that those these guys are the head of the world’s perhaps largest cybercrime organization.


  1. Gery Gery February 10, 2019

    Those 3 are real scammers and big liars

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