After years of investigations into an online investment fraud worth millions, an international team of investigators arrested five main suspects, according to German authorities on Thursday.
The raids were carried out in Romania and Bulgaria, said Mario Krause from the cybercrime department of the Braunschweig police.
According to him, the men have been in custody since the end of March.
In a first operation, cybercrime experts from Lower Saxony, led by the Göttingen public prosecutor’s office in cooperation with Eurojust and Europol, had already been deployed on March 22.
According to the police, investigators took action against suspects in a total of four German states.
The operation allowed authorities to break up the group’s ring leaders, said the police.
“We are confident that we will also be able to charge the suspects,” said Manuel Recha of the Göttingen public prosecutor’s office.
Investigators said the online fraud scam affected 33,000 people, with damages of up to €89 million ($98.13 million).
In Germany alone, investigators estimate there to have been about 5,500 victims, resulting in damages of more than €22 million.
Police said an online scam in Braunschweig had triggered the investigation.
The international investigation against the fraudsters carried out its first operation in October 2021, with more than 100 forces being deployed in Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Ukraine and Cyprus and Israel, according to police.
This first operation allowed the perpetrators to be identified and further offences to be found out, it said.(dpa/NAN)