Bulgarian, Cypriot, Dutch, German and Ukrainian law enforcement officers conduct searches.
On Monday, European police announced that they had stopped online fraud carried out by Bulgaria, in which German investors had lost millions of euros, Europol reported.
Bulgarian, Cypriot, Dutch, German and Ukrainian law enforcement officers searched Wednesday, closing two illegal call centers in Sofia and arresting at least one “high-value target” in Cyprus, Hague-based Europol said.
During the synchronized actions on October 6, 8 homes were searched (5 in Bulgaria, 1 in Cyprus, 2 in Ukraine); 17 people were interviewed in Bulgaria; an important member of the criminal group has been arrested in Cyprus; telephones, electronic equipment, bank accounts and data backups were confiscated
“Acting between May 2019 and September 2021, the criminal network has lured German investors to make transactions totaling at least 15m euros,” the statement added.
Using more than 250 online domain names to advertise fake financial services, criminals have used about 100 employees to attract investors using pre-written scripts.
“The initial profits shown in the user interface encouraged customers to invest large sums of money,” Europol said.
“However, customers did not receive payment of their profits or credit balance after requesting them,” said the police agency, which helped coordinate the cross-border operation with its sister judicial agency, Eurojust.
Further research showed that most of the call center employees did not know that they were involved in fraud.
Earlier this year, European police arrested 11 suspects in a similar scheme in which they stole about 30m euros.