2 of 26 Israelis arrested in forex raids named Guy Grinberg and Snir Hananya
Thirteen years ago, Israeli businessman Guy Grinberg was a high-tech hero. The social networking startup he co-founded, Koolanoo, has been featured in interviews on CNBC and Bloomberg.
His company was rented in the 2009 book “Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” as an example of Israeli entrepreneurial poise.
“China’s third largest social networking website, which serves twenty-five million young internet users in the country, is actually an Israeli startup called Koolanoo, which means ‘all of us’ in Hebrew,” the book says. .
But on Wednesday, October 6, Grinberg was brought before the Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court for a remand hearing, following his arrest by the Israel Police at the request of the FBI. According to an Oct. 6 statement from the Israel Police, Grinberg is suspected of massive fraud and money laundering offenses related to digital forex trading.
In a joint covert operation with the FBI, Israeli police arrested 26 people on Tuesday night in Tel Aviv on suspicion of being involved.
Only two of those suspects were named in documents filed by the court ahead of their removal hearing. They are Grinberg, 47, and Snir Moshe Hananya, 33.
The police statement said the alleged cryptocurrency-related crimes involved victims overseas and amounted to tens of millions of shekels. The arrests were part of a simultaneous operation coordinated by a number of law enforcement agencies around the world to detain those suspected of financial crimes, police said, without giving details of others. places.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed to The Times of Israel that the FBI is working on an ongoing investigation with the Israel Police as well as the Ukraine National Police.
Guy Grinberg’s LinkedIn profile describes him as the “vice president of business development” for a stock exchange company. A recent article reads: “Looking For Live Crypto CFD Leads!” which means he was researching the contact details of potential investors in cryptocurrency and CFD products online.
From 2012 to 2014, Grinberg worked for Mobli, the hapless social networking startup of entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg, according to his profile.
From 1996 to 2003, he worked as an “assistant manager” at Camden Market Properties and Holding, which was founded by Bebo Kobo, an Israeli-Bulgarian businessman and father of Grinberg’s partner in Koolanoo OD (Oded) Kobo. In 2014, Bebo Kobo sold much of the Camden Market to Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi.
According to Channel 12 News, most of those arrested said they were not aware of any fraud. The company they worked for reportedly attracted workers with promises of high wages for those who were committed to hard work.
Israel has been a major hub for online investment scams, which also operate from Cyprus and throughout Eastern Europe.
When the binary options industry was banned by Knesset legislation in October 2017, in large part because of a Times of Israel investigative report that began with a March 2016 article titled “Wolves of Tel Aviv ”, some crooks have turned to schemes involving currency trading. or speculation on cryptocurrencies.
Israeli law enforcement officials have pursued virtually no online fraudsters, despite the industry employing thousands of Israelis who have defrauded billions of dollars from victims around the world.