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Interpol Arrests Thousands For Online Fraud

Pakistani government

Police authorities in various countries have carried out a major campaign against financial crime on the Internet for months. Among other things, it was about fraud and money laundering. In the course of this, around a thousand people were arrested.

The entire campaign ran under the code name “HAECHI-II” and was coordinated by Interpol. Police authorities from 20 countries were involved. The range of crimes ranged from fraud under the pretense of supposed romances or worthwhile investments to money laundering in connection with gambling, Interpol said.

A total of 1660 investigative proceedings came together here, which were processed in a concentrated manner over a period of four months. As a result, exactly 1,003 people were temporarily arrested and $27 million in assets were found in a search. 2350 bank accounts are currently still frozen and will not be released until pending legal proceedings have been concluded at the earliest.

Test for new system

As part of the operation, Interpol officials also tested a new global payment stop mechanism – the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Reaction Protocol (ARRP). In several HAECHI-II cases, this turned out to be decisive for the successful interception of illegal funds. ARRP is to officially start in the coming year and from then on it will serve the daily routine of the financial crime department.

In one of the largest cases in the operation, a textile company in Colombia was defrauded of more than $8 million by an ingenious email scam. The perpetrators posed as the company’s legal representatives and gave orders to transfer more than $16 million to two Chinese bank accounts. Half of the money was transferred before the company uncovered the fraud and alerted the Colombian judicial authorities, which in turn contacted Interpol’s financial crime department through the National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bogota.