By Christophe Hadjigeorgiou
Police announced on Thursday that along with Europol and Eurojust, they had taken down an international digital cartel in connection with cases of online fraud worth up to €18 million.
‘Warenagent’, the operation undertaken by authorities from nine different countries, began as early as 2012 in Germany, and for over six years they prepared for the arrest of the ringleader and another 14 involved individuals. The arrests took place in June, but investigations continued until recently.
The mastermind of the operation was identified to be a 35-year-old resident of Larnaca who was arrested on June 12 in his home as part of a coordinated European sweep that dismantled the cartel.
Another 31 premises were investigated across Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, where the other 14 people were arrested, and four more had been arrested before the start of the operation in Germany.
The cartel is said to have been involved in over 35,000 cases of online fraud worth more than €18 million and involved the purchase of goods through cards which had their data accessed illegally.
The Cypriot authorities were commended by Europol for their significant contributions to Warenagent. The press release added that this success coincided well with the upcoming visit of Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle to Cyprus and her meeting on Friday with Chief of Police Zacharias Chrysostomou.