Europol Helps Bust German-based Iraqi Money Laundering Group
The German authorities, backed by Europol, have dismantled a German-based Iraqi criminal syndicate suspected of laundering money for international heroin traffickers.
Europol said in a statement that it had coordinated the law enforcement authorities in France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands in conducting criminal investigations prior to the operation which took place on 16 March.
Five suspects were arrested and remanded in custody, the EU-wide police agency said in a statement on Thursday.
The organized crime group, composed mainly of Iraqi nationals, was responsible for collecting the proceeds of heroin sales in Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK and laundering the money to the Middle East through Germany.
An estimated EUR 5 M have already been laundered in the scheme that involved the use of cash couriers picking up dirty cash all over Europe. Usingtrade-based money laundering techniques,the group then forwarded the collected assets to the Middle East, Europol said.
Expensive second-hand cars, heavy machinery and construction equipment were purchased in Germany and subsequently exported to Iraq to be ultimately resold for cash. The procceds from those sales were then integrated into the regular financial system using money service businesses and unregulated financial channels, Europol said.
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