Interpol coordinated massive financial crime crackdown

On its official website the Interpol press centre shared the details of the past operation that involved jurisdictions of over 20 countries. They coordinated their forces together with the international police organization to tackle the ever growing online fraud scams. The global operation was conducted under the lead of Interpol`s pilot a new global stop-payment mechanism ARRP. The Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol indeed proved itself to be quite an effective tool in the past HAECHI-II operation.

The HAECHI operation pilot allowed to intercept 27 million in USD

The HAECHI operation is the second conducted operation in a three year project under the support of the Republic of Korea. As a result of the operation local national policies managed to arrest 1,003 individuals and to close 1,660 cases. In addition joint forces blocked 2,350 bank accounts linked to the illegal proceeds of online financial crime. Also Interpol resent more than 50 INTERPOL notices with the information on Operation HAECHI-II and 10 new identified criminal modus operandi. In general the operation targets included money laundering related to illegal online gambling, investment fraud and romance scams.

“The results of Operation HAECHI-II show that the surge in online financial crime generated by the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of waning,” “It also underlines the essential and unique role played by INTERPOL in assisting member countries combat a crime which is borderless by nature” , said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

Operation HAECHI-II took place over a four months period from June to September 2021 with the participation of Macao and Hong Kong that allowed the interception of nearly 27 million in USD of illicit funds. The international criminal organization plans to officially launch the ARRP next year at the same time incorporating it into the system of existing communications channels. As Secretary General Stock added in a statement that nowadays only through such global level cooperation and coordination can national law enforcement effectively tackle what is a parallel cybercrime pandemic.

Scammers also grew some big money appetites

Even though many would think of online fraud as a relatively low-level and low-stakes type of criminality. Two most prominent cases of the operation show the opposite. In one of the cases a Colombian very known textiles company found itself defrauded of more than USD 8 million. Scammers used quite an advanced business email compromise scam. They pretended to be the legal representatives of the company. Then those individuals ordered the transfer of more than 16 million in USD to two Chinese bank accounts.

Interpol coordinated massive financial crime crackdown
Operation HAECHI-II united specialized police units from 20 countries.

Half of the money was already transferred when the company discovered the fraud and contacted the Colombian judicial authorities. They in turn asked for the assistance of INTERPOL’s financial crime unit through their National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bogota.

Another company was scammed of more than 800,000 in USD. The money was already completely transferred to money mule accounts in China. But the Slovenian Criminal Police asked for assistance of Interpol and China’s INTERPOL NCB in Beijing. Together they successfully intercepted and returned them to Slovenia, the whole sum.

About Andrew Nail

Cybersecurity journalist from Montreal, Canada. Studied communication sciences at Universite de Montreal. I was not sure if a journalist job is what I want to do in my life, but in conjunction with technical sciences, it is exactly what I like to do. My job is to catch the most current trends in the cybersecurity world and help people to deal with malware they have on their PCs.

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