A scheme involving the Caribbean offshore bank Migom reveals Iran’s influence in Austria. The complex network of firms and events is reminiscent of the Netflix series Blacklist.
An International Trail
At the center is a bank with international clients from Russia and Ukraine. 120 million dollars are reportedly parked in the Caribbean. The developments surrounding the bank demonstrate why Austria is a hotspot for questionable backers and morally flexible individuals. It particularly highlights why Austria is an international hub for propagandists from the Middle East.
Offshore Bank Migom
Migom Verwaltungs GmbH (FN 521334v) was established in Vienna. Initially, the managing partner held 100% of the shares but later sold 75% of the shares to a Russian woman with an American passport, only to buy them back later.
This Migom Verwaltungs GmbH, as an international investment holding, mainly controls the publicly traded US company Migom Global Corp., which in turn is the sole shareholder of the operationally active Migom Bank Ltd. in Dominica (Caribbean).
Raid at the Correspondent Bank
Migom Bank Ltd. operates similarly to other online banks but without direct transfer capabilities because it did not have either SWIFT or SEPA connectivity. For transfers, the bank used the services of correspondent banks. One such, the Lithuanian bank Transactive Systems UAB, acted as one of the processors. However, this bank’s license was revoked due to regulatory violations. After relationships with other correspondent banks ended, Migom Bank could no longer make transfers.
Employee as a Covert Owner?
Here the story morphs into an episode of the Netflix series “Blacklist”. After losing the correspondent banks, Migom Bank was effectively incapacitated. Two employees then tried to solve the transfer problem using crypto accounts. One of these employees is suspected to be the mastermind behind the Migom Bank scheme. This employee is a well-known Russian with multiple citizenships and several different identities.
Where is the Money?
The Russian mastermind is suspected, presumed innocent until proven guilty, of transferring the bank’s client funds to a crypto account (Cold Wallet) he created. It seems that $120 million in client funds are no longer accessible to the bank’s organs or may even have changed ownership.
More Show than Substance
Flashy houses and expensive cars were rented, mainly to impress. The Russian now also owns a private jet, a 60-meter yacht, a villa in Dubai, and a sizable estate in southern England. He prefers to emphasize his American citizenship at every opportunity. Given the circumstances, the editorial team is trying to find out from the U.S. law enforcement authorities whether his passport is genuine.
Questionable Share Transfers
A strong indication of the central role of the Russian-American is also found in a previously well-hidden detail. Since the founding of Migom Bank and all associated companies, he is said to have a valid option on 75% of the shares in the Austrian holding company through his wife. After the transfer of the crypto funds to his wallet was complete, the supposed “crypto broker” set about covering his tracks. His wife exercised the option on the holding shares, only to immediately transfer them again.
Propagandist as a Front Man
Even if all the steps so far were planned like an episode with “Raymond Reddington”, there was a mishap. In the said transfer of shares, not just any inconspicuous person was chosen, but Hamad Awidad. Any other person would probably not have attracted interest like this well-known man. Awidat is internationally known as a propagandist for the Syrian regime and on Iran’s payroll.
"Assad's Man on the Golan"
The “journalist” Hamad Awidat is a Druze with Israeli citizenship, living in the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights. Despite his Israeli nationality, he supported the Assad regime in Syria. According to the news magazine “Der Spiegel”, Awidat worked for the Iranian television station Press TV, known for its pro-Assad propaganda.
Why the supposed Russian crypto trader decided on the pro-Iranian propagandist is currently only a matter of speculation. The story gains another facet: Awidat’s lawyer is part of the Jewish Community in Vienna. The conflict between Israel and Hamas also plays a significant role here.
Editorial Confronts the Lawyer
Fass ohne Boden confronted the lawyer of propagandist Awidat. He was not willing to make a statement but used the opportunity to threaten the editorial team with legal action:
“If you spread false, credit-damaging, or otherwise defamatory claims, all possible legal steps against you will be initiated immediately.” (Lawyer of Hamad Awidat)
In the interest of transparency, Fass ohne Boden poses the key questions:
How do your clients view the current case around Migom Bank? We offer you or your clients an opportunity for a statement (Note: we can only consider statements in German).
Are you aware that Mr. AWIDAT is “an Israeli citizen but a fervent supporter of the Syrian Assad regime”? According to the article, he spreads “its state propaganda around the world from his village. […] His employer is the state-run Iranian television station Press TV, known for its pro-Assad reports.”
Do you have other clients with similar ideologies from the Iran regime?
Do you have other clients cooperating with the regime of Bashar AL-ASSAD?
Do you have clients from the environment of HISBOLLAH and/or HAMAS in Austria?
Do you have clients from the environment of HISBOLLAH and/or HAMAS worldwide?
Do you personally, as a lawyer, represent the ideology of Mr. AWIDAT?
Confrontation of Migom Management
Fass ohne Boden attempted to confront both the CEO of Migom Bank and the managing director of Migom Verwaltungs GmbH with the research findings. However, both refused to comment, citing banking secrecy.
Outlook and Further Research
There is uncertainty over the whereabouts of the client funds, estimated at 120 million US dollars. The mysterious multiplication of the wealth of the talented Russian crypto trader also raises questions. Clearly, Fass ohne Boden will continue the investigation. We will now shift our research to the UK, USA, and Dubai. Perhaps there we will not only find the lost crypto money but also the real name of the Russian.