At the end of June 2020, Wirecard, a DAX- listed Financial Service Company, imploded. Wirecard has enabled fraudsters to receive and distribute illegal funds for more than two decades. We summarized our findings of Wirecard´s money laundering activities in a money laundering complaint filed in January 2020.
They played a crucial part in the explosion of Cybercrime in Europe. Our story with Wirecard started back in 2016 when the founder of Fintelegram met the German Uwe Lenhoff, jailed in Saarbrücken, Germany, on charges of binary options fraud. Back then, Lenhoff was a respected online entrepreneur; the FinTelegram founder had no idea that Lenhoff was a close business partner of Wirecard, a company he has heard of sometimes but just on the sidelines.
When the business relationship between Werner Boehm and Uwe Lenhoff went sour and finally ended in Uwe Lenhof´s arrest in January 2019, EFRI started to work with victims of the investment scams orchestrated by Lenhoff and his Israeli and Serbia friends. Wirecard showed up in the payment documents of the victims often. Hence, we started to investigate and found the involvement of Wirecard in many investment scams and especially in the binary options and FOREX scams.
Most prominently, the Irish Grey Mountain Management Ltd (GMM) of the Israeli David Cartu and his brothers popped up with dozens of scam brands and tens of thousands of victims. Wirecard UK & Ireland CEO Michelle Molloy plaid a critical part in the GMM fraud, with Wirecard being one of the big payment processors and acquirers. Many other binary options and broker brands too used Wirecard as a payment processor like 24Option, HandelFX, AlgoTechs/Bealgo, MarketsTrading, and many more. Wirecard enabled the transfer of the stolen funds to the fraudsters and the beneficial owners behind the scams. For 24Option, probably one of the biggest scams still going on, Wirecard is the “main” bank.
Wirecard provided payment processing services to cybercrime organizations via offshore constructions and shell companies on a large scale.
Once we recognized the role of Wirecard as one of the big payment processors for scam businesses, we started to investigate even deeper into the case. We quickly realized that Wirecard is the “Payment Processing Hub” for scammers and financial cybercrime perpetrators. Unbelievable but true – this happened in plain sight and under the nose of the German regulator BaFin.
In February 2020, we finally filed a comprehensive money-laundering complaint against Wirecard and shared our findings with the BaFin people.
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We know that during the years, several correspondence banks of Wirecard filed money laundering complaints against Wirecard for considerable amounts (three-digit million amounts), showing Wirecard´s deep involvement in frauds and illegal business. Not a single one of these money-laundering complaints were adequately treated by BaFin and the German Financial Intelligence Unit.
So the Wirecard fraud case was not a surprise for us, but we think the involvement of Wirecard in illegal business activities is not yet on the table. But we will try to do our best to bring them to the table and to hold everyone responsible who was involved in the ripping off of thousands of small investors who trusted the German authorities to do their job correctly.