Interpol operation against West African internet scams seizes over €2M

Interpol operation against West African internet scams seizes over €2M

Several kingpins arrested whose crime networks are considered a ‘serious global security threat’

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – An Interpol operation against organized crime based in West Africa specializing in scams on the internet led to the seizure or freezing of €2.15 million ($2.3 million) and the arrest of more than 100 people in various countries, the organization announced Tuesday.

The crackdown by the International Criminal Police Organization conducted between May 15 and May 29 saw bank accounts frozen, suspects arrested and financial investigations triggered worldwide.

The investigation, dubbed “Operation Jackal,” targeting organized crime groups in West Africa such as Black Axe, “resulted in the identification of more than 1,100 suspects, 103 arrests made and more than 200 bank accounts linked to the illicit proceeds of online financial crime blocked,” Interpol said in a statement.

Police forces, financial crime units and cybercrime agencies from 21 countries around the world participated in the operation, leading to the arrest of several “kingpins whose crime networks are considered a serious global security threat.”

“It sends a strong message to West African crime networks that no matter where they hide in cyberspace, INTERPOL will pursue them relentlessly. The illegal activities of Black Axe and similar crime syndicates will remain a priority for INTERPOL,” said Isaac Kehinde Oginni, the director of Interpol’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre.

The criminal groups, violent gangs and mafia are notorious for their cyber-enabled fraud such as corporate email scams, love and inheritance scams, credit card and tax fraud, prepayment scams and money laundering. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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