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The Hague, 10 June 2015
Yesterday, a total of 49 suspects were arrested and 58 searches carried out in the framework of a massive joint action against cybercrime led by Italian, Spanish and Polish judicial and police authorities with the support of Belgium, the UK and Georgia. The action day represents the successful conclusion of three linked Eurojust cases coordinated by the Italian, Spanish and Polish National Desks, with Europol providing real-time support to the law enforcement authorities operating on the ground.
Operation Triangle stems from large-scale investigations carried out in Italy by the Postal and Telecommunications Police under the direction of the Public Prosecution Office of Perugia, in Spain by the Investigative Court no. 24 in Barcelona, and in Poland. The investigations targeted organised crime groups (OCGs) involved in phishing money from the internet. This type of crime is carried out by specialised criminals who use the internet to carry out a fraudulent scheme known as ‘the man in the middle’; they basically divert funds from legitimate to illegitimate destinations, thereby defrauding large quantities of money from victims located throughout Europe.
The parallel investigations revealed international fraud totalling 6 million euro accumulated within a very short time. The suspects, mainly from Nigeria and Cameroon, transferred the illicit profits outside of the European Union through a sophisticated network of money laundering transactions.
In the preparation for yesterday’s action, Eurojust facilitated the execution of Letters of Request and held several coordination meetings with representatives of the national authorities of Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium and the UK. Thanks to their cooperation efforts, a coordination centre was then set up with the support of the Eurojust Case Analysis Unit, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT).
Yesterday’s action against cybercriminals yielded excellent operational results and demonstrated that several EU bodies and national authorities, joining forces, can together successfully combat one of the most difficult-to-detect forms of modern criminality.
Ms Teresa-Angela Camelio, Assistant to the National Member for Italy, commented: ‘Eurojust played a pivotal role in promoting the best EU efforts against this type of criminality, which requires expertise, cooperation and coordination among all involved national and international actors. These joint operations send a strong message to cybercriminals, who will be subject to justice in any jurisdiction.’
|Total number of arrests
Internet phishing: This cybercrime was perpetrated by OCGs that were able to access, for example, passwords and usernames from victims for illicit purposes. They replaced the legitimate owners of the information by ‘fishing’ their data, and acquired ownership of their inboxes to illegitimately obtain money from them or their customers. The control of sensitive information harms many internet customers and generates billions of euro for the OCGs.