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75 Arrested in Crackdown on West-African Cybercrime Gangs

Interpol last week announced the results of a joint law enforcement effort aimed at dismantling West-African cyber-enabled financial crime operations.

Interpol last week announced the results of a joint law enforcement effort aimed at dismantling West-African cyber-enabled financial crime operations.

Named ‘Operation Jackal’, the global police action that was performed between September 26 and September 30 targeted a cybercrime ring known as ‘Black Axe’, as well as related West-African organized crime groups.

As part of the operation, a total of 75 criminal operators and money mules have been arrested, 49 property searches have been performed, and over $1.2 million have been intercepted in bank accounts.

According to Interpol, Black Axe has become a major global security threat. Black Axe and similar crime rings are responsible for most of the cyber-enabled financial fraud worldwide, as well as for many other serious crimes.

During house searches, authorities seized a large quantity of assets – including 12,000 SIM cards – that has helped with the investigation and has led to the identification of more than 70 additional suspects.

Many of the suspects lived lavish lifestyles and the authorities seized various luxury assets, including cars, a residential property, and tens of thousands in cash.

As part of Operation Jackal, Interpol deployed the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP), a global stop-payment mechanism currently in testing stages.

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Operation Jackal saw collaboration of law enforcement agencies in 14 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, Spain, South Africa, UAE, UK, and US.

Related: Fugitive Arrested After 3 Years on Charges Related to BEC Scheme

Related: Crackdown on BEC Schemes: 100 Arrested in Europe, Man Charged in US

Related: 2,000 People Arrested Worldwide for Social Engineering Schemes

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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