The Montenegrin Money Connection of the “Lenhoff-Barak” Crime Scheme

Uwe Lenhoff, Gal Barak and their Montenegrin Connection

The brazen “Lenhoff-Barak” organization seems to become bigger by the day and spans across the EU, the Balkans, and Israel. The Central Bank of Montenegro (CBCG) initiated bankruptcy proceedings against Atlas Bank early April 2019. The CBCG placed Atlas Bank (or Atlas Banka) under its administration in December 2018 already. Atlas Bank is owned by the Montegrinian oligarch Dusko Knezevic and was also part of the illegal operations of the “Lenhoff-Barak” empire on the Balkans:

  • Montenegro’s special prosecution has accused Knezevic of money laundering of €500 million through Atlas Bank;
  • Dusko Knezevic, in return, filed criminal charges against the Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, central bank governor Radoje Zugic and the bank’s temporary administrator Tanja Teric
  • The Atlas Bank along with Montenegrin Nova Banka and Hipetekarna Banka has also been part of the criminal “Lenhoff-Barak” organization and was used for their illicit activities in the EU and the Balkans;
  • Global Payment Solutions Podgorica was used to launder illicit money from illegally operating broker and gambling schemes;
  • Gal Barak‘s Bulgarian Global Media Partners EOOD and he himself were closely involved in the Montenegrin activities.
  • Uwe Lenhoff and his companies were among the beneficiaries of the illegal money flow.

The “Lenhoff-Barak” Organization

According to the available findings of our research as well as the official investigations, it is proven that Uwe Lenhoff and Gal Barak had close cooperation. Both actors had their own respective networks and quite different focal points in their criminal activities. While Lenhoff operates via his public Veltyco Group in the UK with illegal broker schemes, sports betting and online lottery, Barak had its center in Sofia around E&G Bulgaria and was focused on binary options scams only.

FinTelegram received documents, however, that show that the “real headquarters” of Lenhoff’s Veltyco Group was Winslet Enterprises EOOD, registered in Sofia, Bulgaria. Veltyco was just sort of a public shell company to cover illicit activities.

The brazen scheme of Gal Barak and Uwe Lenhoff

In the areas of payment processing, money laundering, and boiler rooms, however, they have been cooperating closely since 2016 and shared resources. It is said, that Gal Barak‘s boiler room operations have been defrauded clients much more efficient than Lenhoff’s. Thus it was planned to sort of merge both parties boiler room operations under Barak’s lead.

From 2016, Lenhoff and Barak tried to develop their organization in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia Herzegovina. Clients of illegal broker schemes such as Option888, TradoVest, SafeMarkets, XTraderFX, OptionStarsGlobal and many others in the EU countries were attacked via the boiler rooms in the Balkans, i.e. from outside the EU. Lenhoff and Barak have worked with local businessmen, lawyers and politicians to develop their organization on the Balkans.

Global Payment Solutions Podgorica

The criminal network orchestrated by the German Uwe Lenhoff and his Israeli partner Gal Barak is even larger than previously assumed. Since their arrest of in February 2019, numerous connections to illegally operating business have been exposed. Authorities are still busy to work through the seized bank data. Together with local business partners, Lenhoff and Barak founded Global Payment Solutions DOO Podgorica (GPS) as a payment services provider (PSP). Gal Barak and Uwe Lenhoff each held 25% of the shares and provided the management. The remaining 50% were held by local partners.

Amit Hulin, an Israeli and long-time co-conspirator of Gal Barak, was responsible for the operational management of GPS which worked with the Montenegrin Atlas Bank. The bank, in turn, was massively involved in money laundering. FinTelegram already reached out to Amit Hulin with questions about his involvement but so far he remained silent.

Gal Barak and Amit Hulin communicating with Atlas Bank and partners
Gal Barak and Amit Hulin communicating with Atlas Bank and partners

According to reports by the Montenegrin public prosecutor’s office, a volume of at least €500 million was laundered via Atlas Bank. GPS also used the Atlas Bank to launder the money stolen from retail investors via various illegal binary options platforms. These included not only the notorious platforms of Gal Barak and Uwe Lenhoff such as Option888 or OptionStarsGlobal, but also other fraudulent providers such as Capital Trust Investment. That said, it’s evident that Lenhoff and Barak

  1. operated their own scam schemes,
  2. offered “turn-key” solutions (software/hosting/domains/bank accounts) to other perpetrators, and
  3. provided ongoing payment/boiler room/marketing services to those other scam schemes for commissions and fees.

It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to grasp the dimension of the “Lenhoff-Barak” operation, right? And they worked highly professional with international consultants and security teams. Paid with their victims’ money!

Follow The Money

Lenhoff and his network of companies used Global Payment Solutions Podgorica (GPS) to support their own schemes (e.g. Capital Force Ltd or Altair Entertainment). A significant amount of the clients’ money was transferred from GPS accounts to Veltyco’s boiler room subsidiaries Silkline Group and Global Tacticall s.r.o. in Czech. As a matter of fact, hundreds of people worked in these boiler rooms to acquire the victims’ money any single day with their “conversion services” and “retention services”.

From the documents available to FinTelegram we see that the Bulgarian Global Media Partners EOOD of Gal Barak, Marina Andreeva, and their people were involved in the money laundering of GPS and offered its services (solutions they call it) to operators of other illegal broker schemes. Amit Hulin, who evidently orchestrated the illegal money flows played a decisive role in the GPS operation in close cooperation with Gal Barak who also had an e-banking access to GPS accounts.

Global Payment Solutions Podgorica Money Flow

We keep on further investigating the role of MoneyNetInt, a UK FCA-registered payment services provider operated from Israeli people. Like Payvision, MoneyNetInt seems to have played a crucial role in this global money laundering scheme. While the activities with Amsterdam-based Payvision was coordinated by Uwe Lenhoff, MoneyNetInt seems on Gal Barak‘s agenda.

VEmarkets – The Montenegrin Broker Brand?

FinTelegram also received information that GPS, Gal Barak, and Uwe Lenhoff planned to launch its own regulated brand in Montenegro using their GPS and its resources on the Balkans. Actually, we learned that VEmarkets (www.vemarkets.com) was launched as their brand using Option888 client data to acquire customers. Sometime in 2018, VEmarkets, however, was sort of spun off and is run now by Floris Pieter Bartel Waals and his companies. FinTelegram already reported on VEmarkets a few weeks ago (see report here).

The Run From The Balkans

With the founding of GPS, Lenhoff and Barak pursued ambitious goals. They wanted to set up a licensed and hence regulated payment service provider (PSP). To this end, they sought access to local politicians and the Minister of Finance. It didn’t help too much. Just a few months later, the local business partners chased both out of the country because of their way to do business.

From the end of 2017, however, Lenhoff and Barak ran into massive problems with their local business partners in Montenegro. Those local entrepreneurs may not have been aware of the criminal nature of the activities of Lenhoff and Barak in the first place. In addition, the business partners reported that the two had stolen many millions from them and/or had diverted them from the joint venture.

Since 2018 Barak and Lenhoff are definitely unwanted persons in the Balkans. The two of them have also taken on the powerful dark side of the Balkans. They evidently were not squeamish about their means and had already once issued death threats and commissioned corresponding actions our sources say.

Sources

FinTelegram has received documents from former employees and partners that provide sufficient evidence. Furthermore, FinTelegram spoke with those former employees and partners to confirm details. Finally, FinTelegram has received affidavits from key people to support the respective allegations.

Share Information

If you have any information on the people and activities of Gal Barak and Uwe Lenhoff and/or their people and/or companies the FinTelegram Research Team would be more than happy to hear from you via our whistleblower system. Together we can make an impact!