IN A JOINT operation with the authorities in Romania, the National Police have arrested 21 people and recovered 24 high end cars that had been fraudulently acquired in Spain and were due to be sold abroad. 

The members of the criminal organisation are suspected of acquiring the vehicles in Spain, falsifying their documentation, and then selling them on in third countries – mainly in Romania. 

Fourteen of the arrests took place in Spain – in Barcelona, Lerida and Madrid – and a further seven in Romania. The head of the well-organised criminal structure was among those detained after initially evading capture. 

Some 16 vehicles were seized in Romania and a further eight in Spain, with a total value of €1 million. 

The authorities also recovered fake Spanish driving permits, licence plates and tools used for the theft of the vehicles. 

The modus operandi of the gang, according to a statement from the National Police, was to use companies or private individuals to acquire the vehicles via financing deals. 

As the group became more sophisticated, it actually began creating shell companies to finance whole fleets of vehicles, some of them high end. 

Once the gang had acquired the cars, it would then produce fake documentation and then export them to countries including Romania, France, Germany and Portugal. 

They were sold on to unwitting buyers, who, along with the financing companies who were defrauded, were the victims of the scam.

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