Edgars Lasmanis- Exposed with the charges of Money Laundering (2023)
Millions of dollars in criminal funds allegedly passed through the bank accounts of Connectum Limited, a London-based payments facilitator purchased one year ago by Cambodian tycoon Heng Sokha and previously run by Edgars Lasmanis.
Edgars Lasmanis- Introduction to the scammer
Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum, an FCA-regulated payment institution was a well-known scam facilitator and money launderer for the fraudulent Israeli broker scene. It processed funds for Gal Barak’s convicted cybercrime organization.
Edgars Lasmanis, the former CEO and beneficial owner of FCA-licensed Connected Limited, has joined Walletto UAB, a regulated Lithuanian e-money institution, as chairman of the supervisory board. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has been in this position since October 2017.
According to UK Companies House, Edgars Lasmanis resigned as Connectum’s director and CEO in January 2021. Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum, in turn, has played a key part in the Binex Group LP money laundering operation centered on the E&G Bulgaria cybercrime group of Gal Barak, Gery Shalon, and Vladislav Smirnov. Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum has been working closely with the Russian-controlled high-risk payment processor Hawex, in which the notorious Indo-British Ruchi Rathor is also involved, at least until a few months ago.
About Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum
Connectum is a Principal Member Acquirer of Mastercard and Visa. Edgars Lasmanis, a Latvian, was Connectum’s controlling owner until October 2020. He was replaced by Sokha Heng of Cambodia, a politically exposed person (PEP) and the wife of former Transport Ministry Secretary of State Ing Bun Hoaw. According to UK Companies House, she owns more than 75% of the company’s shares.
The most recent SimilarWeb statistics show that a sizable portion of Connectum Limited’s payment volume is made in Russia. We discovered, among other things, that New York-based trader Alexander Gerchik primarily targets Russian clients who make deposits using Connectum Limited through his trading school website, Gerchik.com.
Connectum Limited Offering:
Connectum Limited provides your company with global processing and payment options.
The Connectum Limited service offers:
- Processing of payment cards for Visa, Mastercard, and UnionPay
- Settlement and processing in many currencies
- Spend using cards (Original credits transactions and MoneySend transactions)
- Coins and recurring payments (one-click payments)
- Banking online
Money laundering via Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum
From at least 2017 to 2019, Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum laundered millions of dollars in unlawful gains from the frauds of the cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria and transferred them to the bank accounts of the cybercrime organization’s offshore entities.
What is Cryptocurrency?
A digital type of money known as cryptocurrency has no tangible counterparts, such as coins or bills, and only exists electronically. Electronic tools like cell phones, PCs, or specialist Bitcoin ATM are frequently used in cryptocurrency transactions. Even though Bitcoin and Ether are well-known examples, there are many other virtual currencies on the market, and more are constantly being created. These cryptocurrencies offer distinctive features and applications in the fields of technology and finance, operate on decentralized networks, and are defined by their digital nature.
For these transfers, Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum used to hold bank accounts at Deutsche Handelsbank and Latvian JSC Rietumu Banka.
FCA-Regulated High-Risk Payment Processor Connectum, a company previously owned by Edgar Lasmanis And Its Russian Activities!
Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum Limited has recently come under criticism as a partner of high-risk processors like HoneyPay or Hawex, as well as a facilitator of broker frauds. Connectum Limited is a payment institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. According to the most recent Similarweb statistics, Russia accounts for a large share of Connectum Limited’s payment volume. We observed, among other things, that Alexander Gerchik, a New York-based trader, predominantly targets Russian clients who make deposits utilizing Connectum Limited via his trading school website Gerchik.com.
The Hawex Story and Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum
Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum, an FCA-regulated payment processor, and Hawex, a Russian high-risk payment processor!
Hawex is an FCA-authorized electronic money agent (EMD Agent) of Paystree Limited, an FCA-authorized e-Money Institution.
Kirill Baldakov, a Russian, controlled the UK-registered Hawex Group Ltd until March 2022. It has been maintained since October 2022 by the Dubai-based Hawex Investment LLC, which is owned by Russians and Indian-British Ruchi Rathor. Jevgenijs Marenics, a Latvian, is the director registered in the UK entity. According to the Similarweb statistics for Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum over the previous three months, the FCA-authorized payment processor does significant business with Russia.
Hawex merchants handled more than €81 million through Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum in June, according to the records. Merchants are virtually entirely from high-risk gambling, cryptocurrency, or online marketing industries. Cyprus has the highest concentration of high-risk merchants, followed by the United Kingdom and Estonia.
FinTelegram has learned that Hawex was recommended to Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum by the Russian high-risk payment processor HoneyPay.
Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum and Binex Group
Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum Limited (www.connectum.eu) is an e-money payment institution registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under reference number 624117. Edgars Lasmanis and Ivan Leonidovo from the United Kingdom launched the company in March 2014. Edgars Lasmanis purchased all of the stock and was the sole stakeholder until March 2015. Juri Paal (a/k/a Juri Zitin) of Estonia was named director in May and took over 50% of the shares from Lasmanis for a few months. Juri Paal stepped down as a shareholder and director of Connectum in July 2015. This person had a fascinating backstory.
From 2017 to 2019, Birmingham-registered Binex Group LP was one of the payment processor’s clients and/or merchants. The partners of Binex Group were the notorious money-laundering entities Hokkaido Invest S.A. and Okinawa Holdings S.A., which were also involved in the gigantic Russian money-laundering scandal of Deutsche Bank. In November 2020, Binex Group LP was dissolved.
The Lithuanian Walletto (www.walletto.eu), founded in 2017, is an e-Money Institution (EMI) led by Latvian Romans Baranovs and regulated by the Bank of Lithuania under license number LB000452. According to LinkedIn, Walletto is a Latvian company, with the majority of its employees being Latvian. Payment cards are issued by Walletto, a VISA Principal Member Issuer, and Acquirer, and a white-label payment card scheme is available.
Prosecutions for cybercrime and money laundering
We have uncovered the Russian payment expert and cybercrime activist Vladislav “Vlad” Smirnov with Binex Group. Smirnov is also a partner of Israeli cybercrime activists Gery “Gabi” Shalon and Gal Barak, as well as the beneficial owner of the Russian payment processor NetPay (www.netpay.ru). Shalon has been charged in the United States with the greatest financial hack in history, and Barak was sentenced to four years in jail in Vienna in September 2020 for investment fraud and money laundering. They were the founders of the Bulgarian-Israeli cybercrime organization E&G Bulgaria.
Binex Group LP, owned by Smirnov, is prominently mentioned in prosecutors’ files in Germany and Austria. The company served as an unlawful payment processor for E&G Bulgaria’s broker frauds. Binex Group LP was an Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum merchant and hence had access to credit card networks.
Departing Edgars Lasmanis
Edgars Lasmanis was the controlling owner of Connectum at the time. In October 2020, he ceased to be the dominant figure. Then, according to UK Companies House, Cambodian Sokha Heng, wife of former Transport Ministry Secretary of State Ing Bun Hoaw, took over more than 75% of the company’s shares. Edgars Lasmanis then stayed on as a director until January 2021 before leaving Connectum entirely. We do not yet know the specifics of this transaction.
Edgars Lasmanis, a Latvian national, is a Cyprus resident, according to data from Companies House and his LinkedIn profile. In Cyprus, he also runs the IT firm Securita SAS (www.securita.eu), which specializes in payment fraud detection.
An Important update on Edgars Lasmanis
Russian visits to the website have grown in importance in recent months, according to Similarweb data. Almost 50% of website visitors came from the United States in the preceding three months, while nearly 35% came from Russia. Russia accounted for over 68% of Edgars Lasmanis’s company-named Connectum website visitors in December 2022. This is incredible.
Western financial services firms should avoid doing business with Russia. In this aspect, Connectum Limited’s plan is noteworthy. This could be related to New York-based professional trader Alexander Gerchik, who attracts clients who speak Russian through his brokerage services website Gerchik.co and online trading education website Gerchik.com. This project should be a success, with around 260,000 visitors in December 2022. More than 40% of these come from Belarus and Russia.
Fake DMCA Case
Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum has used fake DMCA to hide their true picture of being fraudsters.
What is faking a DMCA case?
Have discovered notices employ the “back-dated article” approach. The incorrect notice sender (or copier) generates a copy of a “true original” article and back-dates it, resulting in a “fake original” article (an article that is a copy of the genuine original) that looks to have been published prior to the true original at first glance.
The copiers then send a DMCA to the relevant online service providers, claiming that the true original is the copied or “infringing” article and that the copied article is the “original,” and requesting that the true original article be taken down. Following the DMCA request, the individual who provided the incorrect notice removes the phony original URL, most likely to ensure that the article does not remain online in any way. If the takedown notice is effective, information that is most likely legitimate speech will be removed from the internet.
Before we proceed any further, please note the following points which may come in handy as you scroll down and read the rest of the investigation –
The original article was published legitimately on a website.
The DMCAs were clearly filed by an imposter, as evident in the Lumen Database records (listed above), as seen on the Google Transparency Reports.
Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum Limited has been involved in numerous scams and internet criminal behavior. It handled money laundering for Israeli cybercrime groups E&G Bulgaria and Binex Group LP, for example. As a result, Edgars Lasmanis’s company named Connectum Limited is categorized as a “Red Flag.”