A group of fourteen people, aged between 23 and 52, were arrested in London following a large-scale international operation. Those involved are suspected of laundering of over 11 million pounds coming from cybercrimes.
The organized criminal group was detained by National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom (NCA), with the support of Service for Prevention and Fight against Money Laundering under the National Anticorruption Center of Moldova.
According to the British investigators, the 11 million pounds had been misappropriated through Dridex and Dyrecare type viruses that targeted the users of online banking services and infected their computers via e-mails. In this way, hackers gained access and subsequently managed the bank accounts of victims, stealing considerable amounts from their accounts. It is assumed that the viruses had been created by cyber experts from countries of Eastern Europe.
Preliminary investigations have established that the suspects laundered profits from criminal activities through multiple bank accounts, created on the basis of fake IDs and by recruiting and controlling intermediaries. Arriving in bank accounts, the money was divided into smaller amounts and directed to financial institutions in the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe.
These days, 160 British officers within the National Crime Agency of Great Britain and representatives of law institutions in the regions have conducted about 13 searches. They seized several electronic devices - computers, mobile phones and fake IDs. English authorities have noted that cybercrimes are an international menace that is why they operated jointly with their counterparts in the regions, including Moldova and Romania.
Mike Hulett, head of the investigative group within the NCA, believes that cybercrime is a growing threat to the UK, as well as to the international community, and the NCA is determined to combat it at all levels. "Viruses used in this case seriously affect the economic agents and present a harsh attack on small and medium enterprises. Those who create and use these viruses heavily rely on intermediaries, while the funds obtained from this type of crime are later legalized allow further funding of criminal activities," Hulett said.
In his opinion, disclosure of this network will curb the activities of other organized criminal groups and this large-scale operation was possible due to the support of law enforcement and banking institutions from other countries, including Moldova.