23 arrested in European Covid scam investigation

An online scam, which involved the sale of Covid-19 protective items, was exposed after an operation involving European agencies.

The European Union’s police cooperation agency, Eurojust, said the scam was run by an organized criminal group and involved the sale of items such as face coverings.

The scheme included hacked emails and prepayment scams.

The agency said in a statement that a joint day of work was carried out yesterday, which included inspections in Ireland, Romania and the Netherlands.

34 searches were conducted and 23 people were charged, and 10 were arrested.

Gardy said a search had been conducted in the northern inner city of Dublin in connection with the operation.

During the search, 9,500 euros in cash were confiscated along with phones and laptops. No arrests were made.

Eurojust said companies in at least 20 countries were defrauded of around 1 million euros due to the scam.

Before the pandemic, the criminal group was illegally offering fake products for sale online, including wooden pallets.

Eurojust said the group, which mainly includes African nationals in various European countries, began providing protective materials after the outbreak of the epidemic last year.

As part of its work, the criminal group has created fake websites that resemble the names of legally operating wholesale companies. The goods ordered were not delivered, and the money paid was then laundered through bank accounts controlled by the crime syndicate.

Eurojust said false identities were used for this purpose, and funds were withdrawn from accounts in Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

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