Shay Benhamou of Airsoft Technologies (Facebook screenshot)
In Israel, Airsoft is run by a man named Shay Benhamou. The company is reportedly owned by members of the Hadjadj family, recent immigrants to Israel from Marseille, France.
When contacted by The Times of Israel, Benhamou responded on behalf of the firm, “Airsoft is strictly a technological service provider for third party customers. Airsoft is bound by confidentiality not to divulge its clients’ details.”
According to German police, Trade Capital, Fibonetix, Nobel Trade, Forbslab and Huludox have jointly defrauded investors out of tens of millions of euros.
The police describe online investment companies like those it raided in both Bulgaria and Kosovo as a widespread scourge affecting thousands of investors in Germany and countless others throughout Europe.
“The basic structure of the crime is the same,” German law enforcement said in a statement. “Fraudsters tell investors that they are trading in a particular financial instrument. In the past, this instrument was binary options. Currently, it is CFDs, forex and cryptocurrencies.”
But the investment is fictional, according to police.
“The deposited funds are never transferred to capital markets and the trading platform visible to the customer is pure deception,” the German authorities alleged. In many cases, investors lose all of their money, supposedly by losing trades, said prosecutors.
Israel has been a major hub of online investment scams, which also operate from Cyprus and throughout Eastern Europe. Binary options was outlawed via Knesset legislation in October 2017, largely as a result of investigative reporting by The Times of Israel that began with a March 2016 article entitled “The wolves of Tel Aviv.” Since then, some scammers have shifted to schemes involving forex trading, CFD or cryptocurrency speculation.
At the industry’s height, hundreds of companies employed thousands of Israelis and allegedly fleeced victims worldwide out of billions. The firms would dupe victims into believing that they were investing successfully and earning money, and encourage them to deposit more and more into their accounts, until the company caused them to lose trades or cut off contact with the investor and disappeared with all or almost all of their money.
Israeli law enforcement has prosecuted almost no online investment fraudsters, despite the fact that the industry has employed thousands of Israelis who have defrauded billions of dollars from victims worldwide.