Interpol has arrested dozens of cybercrime suspects in several countries. Particularly in Africa, participants of the infamous Black Ax group were arrested. They are suspected of committing online fraud worldwide by posing as a ‘Nigerian prince’.
The big action was called Operation Jackal and took place earlier this month, writes Interpol. The international police cooperation arrested 75 people in 14 countries, including several countries in West Africa and South Africa, Ireland and Italy. The police also seized 1.2 million euros from bank accounts and 49 properties were searched. During those searches, 12,000 SIM cards were seized, among other things.
The action targeted an organized cybercrime ring known as Black Axe. They were involved in romance fraud for years. The perpetrators posed as men or women looking for a relationship, but also as the so-called Nigerian princes who were looking for an advance to share a large fortune. The group is said to use social media and dating sites to find victims and have managed to manipulate victims for years to bring in millions of euros.
According to Interpol, the suspects are “living luxurious lives” and have laundered their money in all kinds of ways. The money would also have been used to finance drug operations. The move is one of the first to see Interpol deploy its anti-money laundering rapid response protocol mechanism, or ARRP, powers. This is a legal partnership in which police services can more easily seize money and resources that have been laundered.