The Spanish police, in collaboration with European authorities, have arrested 106 suspects who allegedly defrauded hundreds of victims digitally. According to Europol, the suspects stole about ten million euros last year.
Europol speaks in a press release about an organized crime group with links to the Italian mafia. The group is alleged to have been involved in digital fraud, defrauding hundreds of victims through phishing attacks, SIM swapping, hacking into corporate email addresses, CEO fraud and other forms of digital scams.
Italian police write that victims, mostly from Italy, were tricked into transferring large sums of money into Spanish bank accounts owned by money mules for the cybercrime group. The funds were laundered through shell companies or by purchasing cryptocurrencies. The money was then invested in other criminal activities, such as prostitution and drug smuggling, according to the police.
The 106 suspects have been arrested by the Spanish police, assisted by the Italian police, Europol and Eurojust. Most of the suspects are of Italian nationality and most of the arrests took place on the Canary Island of Tenerife, which belongs to Spain. The action searched sixteen homes, frozen 118 bank accounts and seized various devices, credit cards, SIM cards and payment terminals.
According to the Spanish police, the suspects had penetrated ‘different levels of Spanish society’, for example in large companies, law firms and banks. Twenty of those arrested have been detained pending judicial investigation, 18 of them in Spain and two in Italy, Reuters news agency reported.