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Austrian, Cypriot, Czech Authorities Expose Crypto Scam, Six Arrested and €750k Recovered

Finance Magnates

Cryptocoins News / Finance Magnates 53 Views

The law enforcement agencies from Austria, Cyprus, and Czechia uncovered a cryptocurrency scam that defrauded investors out of millions early this month. This international collaboration, supported by Europol and Eurojust, led to the arrest of six Austrian suspects and the seizure of substantial crypto assets worth over EUR 500,000 and EUR 250,000 fiat currency.

A Sophisticated Crypto Scam

According to Europol, the fraudsters launched this scam in December 2017, presenting themselves as a legitimate online trading company with a new cryptocurrency offering. They managed to collect millions from investors by promising a revolutionary new cryptocurrency backed by unique software and an algorithm. Investors bought into this scheme with establishedcryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

However, the project's Initial Coin Offering was not transparent, and by February 2018, the perpetrators abruptly removed the company’s online presence. They deleted social media accounts and websites, leaving investors in uncertainty. It quickly became clear that the investors had been deceived by the exit scam.

Europol and Eurojust played crucial roles in the investigation and subsequent crackdown. Europol organized five operational meetings and facilitated a comprehensive analysis of the case. A specialist from the agency was deployed to Cyprus to aid in the operation and ensure a seamless exchange of information.

On the other hand, Eurojust supported the operation through a coordination center that enabled real-time communication between judicial authorities. This coordination was vital for the swift execution of European arrest warrants and search warrants. Austrian police officers went to Cyprus to assist with the investigation and the interrogation of the primary suspect.

Assets Seized and Justice Served

The coordinated efforts led to the execution of six house searches, resulting in the seizure of digital assets and fiat currencies. Authorities also froze numerous bank accounts and confiscated two luxury cars and a property valued at EUR 1,400,000.

According to Europol, the arrests and asset seizures marked a significant victory against cybercrime, particularly in the increasingly complex and evolving world of cryptocurrency fraud. The ongoing investigation aims to identify all victims and ensure that justice is served for those defrauded by this scheme.

Last year, Europol reported another successful crackdown that led to the arrest of five individuals perpetrating fraudulent online investment schemes, including binary options. In 2021, authorities in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, the Netherlands, and Ukraine, in collaboration with Europol, took down the crime syndicate, arresting one suspect in Cyprus. This scheme affected at least 33,000 victims and resulted in about €89 million in losses.

This article was written by Jared Kirui at www.financemagnates.com.
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