Status: 15.11.2022 10:09 a.m.
An international gang may have harmed hundreds of thousands of investors with fake crypto trades. The Spanish police dismantled the fraud network after several years of investigations.
Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, the industry is facing yet another depressing news. Spanish police, in cooperation with authorities in Germany and other European countries, have dismantled an international gang that allegedly stole approximately €2.4 billion from fraudulent cryptocurrency trading.
According to the Spanish police unit Guardia Civil, the total number of victims could be in the hundreds of thousands. According to current knowledge, more than 17,000 investors have been deceived in Spain alone. Apparently the gang was run from Albania. On November 8 and 9, Spanish officials, in cooperation with the country’s authorities, arrested the two suspected gang leaders. Investigations are underway against 16 other suspects, he said.
Call center in Kyiv closed
According to the Guardia Civil, she worked with Catalan police Mossos D’Esquadra and with authorities in several other countries – including Albania and Germany, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Ukraine and Georgia. In the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, for example, a call center involving around 800 employees was closed.
The reason for the investigation was the complaint of an elderly woman from Catalonia in 2018, who was defrauded of 800,000 euros. Victims of the scam were called from call centers in Albania and other countries, according to the Guardia Civil. The callers “pretended to know the financial world well. They manipulated their victims with persuasion techniques and promised high profits,” said a spokesperson. Many would have trusted the gang and, above all, would have transferred ever larger sums for alleged transactions with cryptocurrencies.
The number of victims in Germany still uncertain
Criminals often managed to install remote access software on victims’ computers. “We estimate the gang was earning around 400 euros per minute,” he said.
Many gang employees apparently had no knowledge of criminal history. They should not be held responsible by the authorities of the respective country, a police spokesman said. The number of victims in Germany and other countries is not yet known.