The Hague, 18 February 2011
French and Bulgarian law enforcement and judicial authorities joined forces with Eurojust and Europol to successfully disrupt the activities of an international organised crime group. The criminals were responsible for an international payment card scam, producing counterfeit payment cards and performing illegal transactions in many EU Member States, as well as in Australia, Kenya, the United States of America and the Republic of South Africa.
Following the execution of arrest warrants, Europol supported French and Bulgarian law enforcement authorities in carrying out five house searches, resulting in the arrest of nine suspects in Bulgaria and France. Throughout Operation “Green Lips”, named after the particular type of card skimmers deployed by the group, police seized skimming devices, hard disks, equipment used to illegally copy card data and data from thousands of compromised cards. The criminals were responsible for ATM skimming, exchanging compromised credit card data via the internet and then using the counterfeit cards worldwide. The estimated losses caused by their purchases exceed € 1 million.
During the raids carried out in Bulgaria by the Inter-regional Directorate of Judicial Police of Lyon (DIPJ-Lyon), the Bulgarian National Investigative Service, the Bulgarian General Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Europol, the Europol mobile office was deployed to co-ordinate the international operation and provide access to Europol’s intelligence database. Investigators from the Member States involved made use of Europol’s analytical, tactical and technical support capabilities.
Eurojust successfully facilitated co-operation and co-ordination between judicial and law enforcement authorities of the involved countries. In particular, one co-ordination meeting was held at Eurojust to facilitate the sharing of evidence and the planning and co-ordination of operations in Bulgaria to dismantle the criminal network.
Payment card fraud has become a global problem. Compromised payment card data distributed via the internet affects not only EU Member States but also non-EU countries. In such cases, cross-border co-operation and co-ordination of international investigations is crucial to effectively tackling this problem.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Joannes THUY, Spokesperson - Head of Press & PR Service
EUROJUST, Maanweg 174, 2516 AB, The Hague, the Netherlands
Tel +31 70 412 5508