In a coordinated effort, European law enforcement agencies have successfully taken down a cross-border cryptocurrency fraud network that spanned across Serbia, Germany, Cyprus, and Bulgaria.
The network, which was using call centers to defraud international victims out of tens of millions of euros, was uncovered during an online scam investigation that was launched in 2021.
The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation and Europol arrested 14 people in Serbia and one in Germany in connection with the operation.
A total of 150 computers, three cars, two luxury apartments, $1 million in cryptocurrencies, and 50,000 euros in cash were seized as part of the investigation.
Victims of the fraud were reported to be based in several countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, and Canada. However, the exact number of victims has not been disclosed by the authorities.
They did state that the number identified is “almost certainly only the tip of the iceberg.” During investigations, they found evidence of “high volumes of financial transactions.”
The organized crime group behind the scam was operating the call centers from Serbia and using a technological infrastructure in Bulgaria to run the scheme. Cyprus was allegedly used as the base for laundering illegal proceedings.
It is worth noting that there is no connection between this case and the recent raid on crypto lender Nexo.
A spokesperson for the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the cases are unrelated. Nexo’s offices were raided by police on Thursday as Bulgarian prosecutors began investigating alleged criminal financial conduct, including money laundering and tax violations.
Nexo’s co-founder and managing partner, Antoni Trenchev, called the allegations “absurd.”