A woman from Germany lost over 100,000 euros to online fraudsters. Now it’s about compensation: A lawsuit is directed against the payment service provider Payvision and the Dutch bank ING, which gradually took over the fintech from 2018. picture alliance / ANP | Robin van Lonkhuijsen/Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images/Graphic: Business Insider
Fraudsters apparently stole hundreds of millions of euros from investors worldwide via fictitious trading platforms such as Zoomtrader or Option888.
Investor advocates see the payment service provider Payvision as a “door opener” for cybercriminals. A claim for damages is now directed against the fintech, but also against its parent company – the major Dutch bank ING.
It is a “model lawsuit for thousands of victims in Germany,” says Elfriede Sixt, co-founder of the protection organization EFRI from Vienna.
They lured investors with fabulous returns. But apparently only the people behind them got rich with trading platforms like Zoomtrader or Option888. They are said to have stolen hundreds of millions of euros via fictitious online trading platforms for cryptocurrencies and financial instruments such as binary options. That with one spectacular effort The fraud system operated by criminal investigators in several European countries has been busy for years.
Elfriede Sixt has made a name for herself as the voice of the five-digit number of victims. She is co-founder of the European Funds Recovery Initiative (EFRI) from Vienna. The investor protectors are not only collecting material against the alleged masterminds, Gal B. and Uwe L., known as the “Wolf of Sofia”, who died while in custody in Saarland. Sixt and its colleagues are also convinced that the payment service provider Payvision has acted as a “door opener” for online fraudsters for a long period of time. The company processed credit card payments from cheated customers.
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According to research by Business Insider, a claim for damages is now being brought before the Konstanz regional court against the fintech, but also against its parent company – the major Dutch bank ING. From the beginning of 2018, she gradually took over the company, which was valued at 360 million euros. Sixt speaks of a “model lawsuit for thousands of victims in Germany” who have lost their life savings to the fraudsters behind the platforms.
ING does not comment on the lawsuit in Germany
Explosive for the bank: The “test case” revolves around transactions that took place after ING took over Payvision. According to the lawyers, the injured party, a woman from Germany, lost more than 105,000 euros on the XTraderFX platform. ING is said to have breached its duty of care and not taken a close look before joining Payvision. These are essentially the allegations made by the plaintiffs, on which ING did not comment upon request. A court date in the civil proceedings has not yet been set; the lawyers are currently exchanging extensive written submissions.
“For years – even after the takeover by ING – Payvision has offered cybercriminals the opportunity to accept card payments in the hundreds of millions,” says Sixt. “We are convinced that without cooperation with unscrupulous payment service providers and banks, these online fraud schemes on the gigantic scale that we see every day would not be possible.”
According to its own information, EFRI represents around 300 victims of criminal trading websites to Payvision. The protection organization helped private investors with civil lawsuits in Germany and neighboring European countries. In October 2021, ING announced that it would be suspending the services of its glitzy subsidiary.
Money laundering investigations against Payvision in the Netherlands
But the scandalous acquisition continues to haunt the renowned credit institution – and not just because of the lawsuit in Konstanz. Dutch authorities are investigating Payvision on suspicion of money laundering. This is said to be about events between 2015 and 2020, as ING revealed in its annual report.
A spokesman emphasizes that ING is not listed as a suspect in the criminal investigation. “As far as we know, it focuses on matters that took place before the takeover by ING”. In addition, it recently became known that people had filed a lawsuit “claiming to have been defrauded by a company whose payments were processed through Payvision,” said the spokesman. ING is not commenting on either lawsuit.
However, ING claims to have separated from customer groups “that did not correspond to the desired risk profile” after taking over Payvision, as the spokesman explains. “Numerous steps have been taken to further align Payvision’s governance and risk profile with that of ING.”
The fact that ING crushed its subsidiary’s business and passed it on to customers is not justified today by the allegations against the fintech. But rather that the major bank’s “ambitions with Payvision could not be realized in the rapidly developing, highly competitive and capital-intensive market,” as the company headquarters in Amsterdam said.
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