PAYVISION B.V., registered in Amsterdam, is a payment service provider founded in 2002 by Rudolf BOOKER and his partners to provide payment services for online shops. PAYVISION has been granted a licence as Payment Institution under the Payment Services Directive (PSD) for the Dutch Central Bank. The PSD is an EU regulation to aide the industry in facilitating transactions across Europe more efficiently and with more transparency. The PSD licence is only awarded to organisations that comply with a wide set of rules and obligations to ensure quality and stability of the international payment sector.
PAYVISION enables online shops to accept credit card payments and acts as acquiring partner for the operating companies (merchants) of the websites. The financial flows go through specially established vehicles 1) such as Stichting Trusted Third Party Payvision and Stichting Trusted Third Party or Acapture.
Rudolf BOOKER was also the CEO of the company until April 2020.
Acquisition by ING Group B.V (one of the largest bank of the world)
The sole beneficial owner of PAYVISION is now ING Bank. As part of the implementation of its FINTECH strategy, ING acquired 75% of the shares in the start-up PAYVISION in spring 2018 at a valuation of EUR 360 million, based primarily on the highly positive business development of the company.
Relevant criminal proceedings
In January 2019 the Austrian and German law enforcement agencies arrested Uwe LENHOFF and charged him with fraud for being the beneficial owner of the boiler room scams Option888, ZoomTraderGlobal, Tradovest, Lottopalace, which ripped off thousands unsuspecting European consumers. The criminal proceedings against him were opened in Vienna, Austria and afterwards handed over to Saarbrücken, Germany. As of July 5th 2020 Uwe LENHOFF was found dead in his cell in Saarbrücken.
GAL BARAK was arrested in Sofia, Bulgaria – where he operated boiler rooms and the investment scams xtraderFx, OptionStarsGlobal,… he was found guilty as of September 1st, 2020 for severe fraud and money laundering and sentenced to 4 years in jail in Vienna, Austria. Read more here.
Based on the statements of the accused Uwe LENHOFF and GAL BARAK in the criminal case 2) in Vienna Austria , as well as from the statements of BOOKER (also to be find in the criminal file), it is proven that the stolen money from the following boiler room scams were processed via PAYVISION from 2015 on:
- Option888, ZoomTraderGlobal, Tradovest, Lottopalace, (2015 – 2018)
- XTraderFX, OptionStarsGlobal, Safemarkets, Goldenmarkets (2016 – 2019)
- EasyTrade, Binary Options (beneficial owners not yet known) (extent of payments unknown)
- AlgoTechs/BEALGO (beneficial owners not yet known) (extent of payments unknown)
- GetFinancial (extent of payments unknown)
- 24Option (extent of payments unknown)
In December 2018, PAYVISION terminated the contracts due to negative public reporting on the fraud systems on the Fintelegram website.
Accusations against PAYVISION: supporting fraud and massive money laundering
The operating companies (merchants) of the above fraud online trading scams have been shell companies, mostly British, with nominee directors and nominee shareholders.
Although the majority of contracts between PAYVISION and the companies operating the scams were signed by these straw men, according to the statements made in interrogations of these straw men, there were neither any communication or meetings at all between PAYVISION and them. The communication as well as the agreements were made directly with the Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBO) behind the scams. Uwe LENHOFF and the Israeli Gal BARAK discussed for there scams all details themselves whereas on the PAYVISION side, communication at board level was either by Rudolf BOOKER himself or Gijs op de Weegh 3).
BOOKER and LENHOFF had a close private relationship (joint skiing holiday). according to the tapped telephone logs between BOOKER and LENHOFF, Although the acquiring contracts between PAYVISION and the fraudulent brands were terminated in December 2018, phone calls between BOOKER and LENHOFF about the business took place until the end of January 2019 – the latest one two days before LENHOFF was arrested.
Total stolen money processed by PAYVISION2)
Accordingly, the companies attributed to Uwe LENHOFF and platforms generated a total turnover (stolen money) of EUR 55,646,534.79 with PAYVISION. The companies and platforms attributed to Gal BARAK show a total turnover of EUR 75,610,779.87 with PAYVISION. Chargebacks are a repayment process which is initiated by the credit card holder. BOOKER stated that although the chargeback rate was high, Gal BARAK achieved around 65% and Uwe LENHOFF around 40% of repayments successfully combated. PAYVISION’s own fees were charged for these chargebacks. Later a “single rate” was introduced, which included the commission and chargeback fees. So BOOKER was aware of all the chargebacks by the distressed victims – he just did not care.
The amounts stated only cover the schemes from Uwe LENHOFF and Gal BARAK, not all the other scams which have been and probably are still processed by PAYVISION – a subsidiary of ING.
Warnings from European Supervisory Authorities
There had already been warnings published by various financial market supervisory authorities against the fraud schemes from Uwe LENHOFF and Gal BARAK from 2016 onwards (see below), but PAYVISION ignored all of them. In the contrary BOOKER urged Uwe LENHOFF to sign a referral agreement with Uwe LENHOFF providing him a fee for other scam referrals – LENHOFF was arrested before that happened.
Reward for the founders and board of PAYVISION
In September 2019 ING bought the remaining 25% share in PAYVISION, although ING must have known already about the kind of business PAYVISION was in, so they “rewarded” BOOKER and his partners with even more money.
At the same time hundreds and thousands of unsuspecting European consumers have suffered from having been ripped off and having lost their life-time savings to scammers with the support of PAYVISION.
Actions of EFRI
In our opinion PAYVISION is Netherland´s WIRECARD – a company helping scammers in big style fraud.
We filed a money laundering complaint against PAYVISION already in summer 2019 (except for a receipt confirmation no response has been received from the relevant authorities). After having much more information now found in the criminal file as well as detailed information on the total volume we are about to send an updated version to the Dutch Central Bank – in charge for PAYVISION.
We are preparing legal steps against PAYVISION.
Pls get in touch:
For any lawyers and for press people interested in seeing the material in the criminal files of GAL BARAK and Uwe LENHOFF, please contact us.
1) Despite the fact that Stichting Trusted Third Party Payvision and Stichting Trusted Third Party Acapture are not a subsidiary of Payvision Holding, they are consolidated. A special framework is formulated in an agreement between Stichting Third Party Payvision and Payvision B.V., whereby Stichting Third Party Payvision provides execution of payment services exclusively to Payvision B.V. and/or its merchants. The agreement stipulates that operational deposits are to be held and used to cover the operational financial exposure, which may arise if and when negative collections are imposed upon merchant accounts. The agreement also states that Payvision B.V. bears all costs in in relation to the execution of services, profit and losses of Stichting Third Party Payvision such as all taxes, bank charges and also those financial and economic risks in relation to the accounts operated by Stichting Third Party Payvision. A similar agreement is in place between Stichting Trusted Third Party Acapture and Acapture B.V.
2) 9 ST 16/19p- 116
3] CONSOB warning against Option888 and its operators: https://smnweekly.com/2016/12/28/italys-consob-warns-of-ayrex-option888-binary-options-brokers-broker-yard-forex-broker/ (dated December 28, 2016); FCA warns against Option888 and its merchants https://smnweekly.com/2016/12/28/italys-consob-warns-of-ayrex-option888-binary-options-brokers-broker-yard-forex-broker/ (dated May 2018); FMA warns against Option888 https://www.fma.gv.at/capital-force-ltd-option888/https://www.fma.gv.at/capital-force-ltd-option888/(dated 25. November 2017).