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14 June, 2024
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Massive international fraud ring busted, Cyprus plays crucial role

Joint operation nets €645 million, freezes assets across 11 countries


Cyprus, along with international law enforcement agencies, cracked down on a massive fraud ring with a staggering €645 million turnover.

According to a report by PhileNews, last Thursday's police operation, involving 400 officers from 11 countries and aided by Europol and Eurojust, led to the arrest of nine individuals and the freezing of illicitly obtained funds linked to a financial scam involving a fraudulent investment scheme for purported medicinal cannabis production.

Cyprus played a role in the investigation, with assistance from the Unit for Combating Cover-Up Offences (MOKAS), leading to the freezing of €4 million in accounts connected to the international fraud.

Overall, authorities across multiple nations froze assets totaling €4.7 million in bank deposits, €1.5 million in cryptocurrencies, €106,000 in cash, and €2.6 million in real estate, highlighting the scale of the operation.

Europol revealed that since 2020, suspects from various countries used social media to lure over 550,000 European victims with promises of lucrative investment opportunities in medicinal cannabis cultivation. Victims, who invested as little as €50, were promised high returns without disclosure of the investment strategy.

Initially, investors received returns, but the scheme abruptly shut down in July 2022, blocking cash withdrawals and sparking complaints across Europe. Europol spearheaded a coordinated investigation, leading to arrests and asset seizures, with one key figure apprehended in the Dominican Republic.

Europol, actively involved in the investigation, provided operational coordination and analytical support, underscoring the international effort to dismantle the fraudulent network.

Cyprus  |  Medical cannabis  |  drugs  |  crime

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