Barry Oberholzer

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Barry Oberholzer
Barend Oberholzer

September 1, 1983[citation needed]
Houston, Texas, United States
Alma materUniversity of South Africa,
American Military University
OccupationTechnology entrepreneur
Years active2001–present
Spouse(s)Munique Oberholzer[citation needed]

Barend Oberholzer[1] is an American entrepreneur and former intelligence operative. He is the founder of the public safety company X.Labs, formerly known as Royal Holdings Technologies.[2][3][4] He is also a former senior vice president of Defense Trading Solutions and creator of the TerrorMate, a terror and mass shooting alert app.[5]

Early life[edit]

Oberholzer was born in Houston, Texas, United States, where his father Barry Oberholzer Sr. was the South African consul-general. He moved to South Africa after his father’s term ended in 1985.[6]

Oberholzer enrolled in the undergraduate course on Counter-Intelligence and Terrorism at the American Military University in 2012.[6]


Oberholzer initially worked as a marketing manager for South African based helicopter company, Base4 Aviation.[6]

Oberholzer claimed that he has been a former intelligence contractor, serving as an informant, for the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Department of Homeland Security, Belgium Customs Intelligence Unit and the United Kingdom’s HM Revenue & Customs Intelligence to counter criminal operations, including narco-terrorism and smuggling networks.[5] When asked, these agencies have declined to comment, citing policy against confirming any individual's involvement as an informant.[6]


In 2017, Oberholzer founded SWORD, a mobile internet of things threat detection device, in an attempt to prevent casualties in mass shooting. The device is marketed as being able to "identify concealed threats, such as weapons, knives and explosive devices, and to identify people on customized watchlists."[4]

Involvement with the South African government[edit]

Oberholzer served as a managing director of 360 Aviation.[7] In 2005, he advertised a Bell Helicopter on, an online marketplace for aviation. He was later contacted by Hussein Safari, an Iranian businessman who would help Oberholzer circumvent sanctions against Iran by selling American helicopters to Iran for a mark-up from South Africa. These deals garnered him over 3 million South African rands per transaction. Business increased in 2008 when South African President Thabo Mbeki encouraged more international trade between South Africa and Iran. 360 Aviation set up its own front company, Gemini Moon, to sell aircraft and parts, and set up other front operations for different Iranian entities.[6]

In March 2012, Oberholzer informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force of these activities in exchange for immunity, fearing potential jail time as an American citizen if he had gotten arrested.[6][8] This information included attempts to garner governmental backing in June 2011 from the South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and his partner Gugu Mtshali in exchange for monetary compensation. Motlanthe has challenged these claims.[6][7][9] The negotiations, that failed, would have set up a five year contract of at least 450 million Rands for Gemini Moon to supply the National Iranian Oil Company with helicopters and parts. This would have violated the 2010 UN arms embargo.[9]

While the United States government could not confirm nor deny Oberholzer's involvement as an intelligence operative, The Sunday Times has corroborated his statements.[6]


Oberholzer allegedly impersonated former CIA director and retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus in emails to venture capital firms in 2018, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York in February 2021.[10]


  • The Black Market Concierge: Sanction Busting, Smuggling & Spying for America, Black Box Entertainment (November 26, 2016), ASIN B01LM1YQ6E.[4]


  1. ^ "Barry Oberholzer Saps Letter". Scribd. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  2. ^ Waitt, Tammy (2020-06-22). "X.Labs High-Speed Checkpoint Combines Weapon, Facial, Thermal Imaging & Gunshot Detection". American Security Today. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  3. ^ Waitt, Tammy (12 March 2020). "COVID-19? Screen with AI-Base, Non-Contact Thermal Imaging for 'Feevr'". American Security Today.
  4. ^ a b c Georgiadis, Fotis (12 November 2018). "Now you can use your phone to do concealed weapon detection, facial recognition and gunshot detection in under 1.5 seconds". Medium (website).
  5. ^ a b Waitt, Tammy (7 February 2017). "Oberholzer Intro's World's First Counter-Terrorism App (See Video)". American Security Today.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "The spy who came in from the cold". The Sunday Times. 11 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b Davis, Gaye (March 13, 2012). "Bring on probe – Motlanthe". Independent Online. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  8. ^ Hofstatter, Stephan; Rose, Rob; Wa Afrika, Mzilikazi (18 March 2012). "Probe into dubious SA-Iran deals widens". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  9. ^ a b Hofstatter, Stephan; Rose, Rob; Wa Afrika, Mzilikazi (11 March 2012). "'Nothing for mahala'". The Times (South Africa).
  10. ^ Brown, Stephen Rex (6 July 2021). "Fraudster posed as four-star Army general while pitching gun-detection app to investors: feds". New York Daily News. Retrieved 21 July 2021.