Ireland is being Used as a Criminal Safety Haven, by International Gangs, it must be Stopped, Operation Jackal?

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Gardaí and Interpol search premises in Dublin and Clare in major online fraud investigation- 

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15th October 2022

GARDAÍ AND INTERPOL have searched nine premises in Dublin and Clare as part of an international investigation into online fraud crimes.

Gardaí and Interpol search premises in Dublin and Clare in major online fraud investigation© Alamy Stock Photo

From mid-August, an effort to target the laundering of proceeds from crimes such as international business email compromise, invoice re-direction fraud and romance fraud resulted in 62 charges of money laundering and three organised crime offences.

Officers searched nine premises in Dublin and Clare and arrested 23 people for the purpose of charging.

Gardaí are working with Interpol on Operational Jackal, an international investigation into organised crime and laundering proceeds.

The searches and detentions were conducted by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) ahe arrests for charging were conducted by local districts such as Tallaght, Tralee, Portlaoise, Navan, Limerick, Cork and Waterford. The operations were supported by two seconded members from Interpol.

In Ireland, an ongoing investigation tied to Operation Jackal called Operation Skein has arrested 195 people for money laundering offences and 69 people under organised crime legislation to date, with 135 people charged.

The operation, which began in 2020, is investigating an international criminal organisation that commits fraud and launders the proceeds through networks of bank accounts in Ireland.

The GNECB and Interpol’s assessment is that the organisation is the Black AXE, a criminal organisation formed in West Africa in the mid-1970s.

Around €40 million that has been stolen and laundered has been linked to the organisation to date, with a further €10 million using the same methods under consideration as to whether it is connected to the group.

A previous GNECB investigation – Operation Joggle – identified another €14 million as laundered in the same fashion.

GNECB believes that all of the amounts are connected, which would mean that over €64 million has been laundered through Ireland.

Bank accounts used to launder the money that belong to Irish residents are recruited as money mules, usually through social media or friend networks. Some young people who owe money for illegal drugs are recruited as a means of paying of debts by allowing their accounts to be used.

Others are recruited in other EU countries and flown to Ireland where they are given documents and open accounts. The documents are usually false but some genuine documents have also been recovered. IDs from Italian, British, Portuguese, Maltese, Dutch and Belgian have been found so far.

New developments involve Irish nationals being flown to other countries, given false documents and told to open accounts which are then used to launder. 

“Money mules are incorrectly being informed by their recruiters that once their financial account is used outside Ireland nothing can be done to them. This is incorrect,” a garda statement said.

“They are committing money laundering in Ireland and could also be extradited to international jurisdictions to face money laundering charges there as the primary offence occurred there.”

The GNECB has identified more than 800 money mules directly linked to the criminal organisation and estimates that there are at least 4,000 money mules linked to the investigation who have used Irish addresses.

The majority of the mules are young people across Ireland, gardaí said.

Gardaí have also identified 63 “herders” or “facilitators”, 50 operational directors and 16 strategists.

 

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