Global police operation leads to 159 arrests against money muling

Law enforcement authorities from 26 countries, including Greece, arrested 159 individuals were arrested across Europe in a coordinated global action against money muling, which took place from 20 to 24 November 2017.

With the support of 257 banks and private-sector partners, 1,719 money mule transactions were reported, with total losses amounting to almost 31 million euros.

During the operation, 409 were interviewed by law enforcement authorities and 766 money mules were identified. The European Money Mule Action has evolved from previous editions towards targeting not only the money mules, but also the money mule organisers, which resulted in 59 recruiters/organisers being identified.

According to Greek police, among those money mule transactions, more than 90 percent were linked to cyber-related crimes, such as phishing, online auction fraud, Business Email Compromise (BEC) and CEO fraud. For the first time, romance scams and holiday fraud (booking fraud) were reported by law enforcement authorities. Also, an increasing role of cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) transactions was identified in the money laundering schemes used by the criminals.

The operation was carried out with the support of Europol, Eurojust and the European Banking Federation (EBF) and involved police services in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland , France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.