POLICE have arrested three Spaniards after British company bosses were targeted by a €10 million computer scam.

One person from Sevilla was held over the crime, dubbed ‘CEO fraud’ because it involves hacking managers’ emails.

Detainees’ alleged crimes include membership of a criminal group, money laundering, disclosure of secrets and falsifying documents.

Police Fraud Advice
ADVICE: Spanish police info on fraudsters

The scam affected firms from 12 countries, including Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Chile, Belgium, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Norway and the US.

Also known as ‘Business Email Compromise’, the scam saw criminals use ‘phishing’, where they fraudulently obtained company bank details via email.

Transfers were then made between the companies’ usual banks and the criminal group, with the total amount stolen put at €10,700,000.

In this case the gang of hackers even attached pro-forma invoices to emails in order to create an impression of credibility.

2019 10 22_op_lavanco_01
INVESTIGATION: ‘Operation Lavanco’ saw a trio of Spaniards detained over an ’email phishing’ scam

Investigators discovered that the group had used a vast network of 83 companies and 185 bank accounts in order to cover its tracks.

So far Guardia Civil officers have recovered a total of €1,290,000, which had been divided between 16 of the gang’s accounts, which have now been blocked.

Those snared under ‘Operation Lavanco’ are aged between 34 and 67, and from Cuenca, Tarragona and Albacete, while another individual is currently under investigation.

The Guardia Civil worked with Europol and several other foreign forces on the probe, including the American FBI and the German BKA.

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