Fraud probe – Man questioned by gardaí over €500,000 in criminal proceeds
23rd September 2021
Specialist gardai have made three more arrests in relation to their investigation into an organised international gang who are involved in a multi-million euro fraud operation.
Five searches were carried out in Co Kildare at dawn and three suspects were arrested including one for allegedly directing the activities of a criminal organisation, another for money laundering while a third suspect was arrested for obstructing a search warrant.
Two have since been released without charge.
Local gardai and the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) were involved in the joint operation for the searches which are described by senior sources as “significant.”
The main target of the investigation was being held at Clondalkin Garda Station tonight and the young man is suspected of laundering over €500,000 in criminal proceeds.
He was identified by local gardai as part of a previous drugs investigation in south Kildare last year.
“Operation SKEIN is an investigation into international BEC/Invoice redirect fraud being committed from Ireland, and the laundering of the proceeds through accounts here,” a garda spokesperson previously said.
“It is estimated that this criminal organisation has stolen over €18 million worldwide in invoice redirect frauds/BEC frauds with the vast majority laundered through bank accounts in Ireland,” she added.
Invoice redirection fraud happens when a person or a business fall prey to requests, purporting to emanate from trusted suppliers or service providers, into believing that a beneficiary’s bank account details have been changed.
As a result, funds that are due to be paid out are transferred to a fraudulent account.
The GNECB are investigating multiple cases of this type of fraud on a daily basis.
The arrest is just the latest as part of Operation SKEIN which has led to over 40 arrests nationwide this year including three for directing the criminal organisation involved in the €18 million fraud as well as the detention of more than 30 money mules.
Money mule accounts are usually held by unconnected third parties, who are approached by recruiters and asked to allow their accounts be used for a transaction in exchange for a fee of a few hundred euro.
Often the fraudsters use students’ and young people’s bank account details by offering them a fee to allow use of their accounts for a few days.
Operation SKEIN is focusing on an international criminal organisation who have been using Irish bank accounts to store money stolen from companies in “every EU country, Russia, Canada, China, African countries and the US” gardai say.