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Ballymun Garda Station. Pic: Google Maps.
Ballymun Garda Station

Man extradited from UK to Ireland and charged in relation to major fraud investigation

He was arrested in relation to an investigation into the laundering of fraud proceeds in 2017.

A MAN WHO was extradited from the UK to Ireland, aged in his 40s, has been charged in relation to an investigation into the laundering of proceeds of business email compromise fraud between October and November 2017. 

The man was extradited on foot of a Trade and Co-operation Agreement Warrant this evening. 

He is being held at Ballymun Garda Station, and is due before the criminal courts tomorrow morning. 

Operation Skein 

The investigation is being carried out by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), under Operation Skein. 

The ongoing operation is cracking down on international business email compromise (BEC) fraud being committed from Ireland, and the laundering of the proceeds of this fraudulent activity through accounts here. 

An international crime organisation is thought to be behind the email chain frauds, and romance frauds, which GNECB believe to be the Black AXE. 

The organisation was formed in West Africa in the 1970s and it now operates worldwide. 

The investigation into the criminal organisation began when  €1.1 million was stolen in a BEC fraud and laundered through Asia in 2020. The fake emails originated from Ireland. 

The electrical devices seized during this operation indicated that the criminal organisation involved were not only laundering in Ireland, but also operating from here. 

To date, investigations can link just over €40 million as having been stolen and so laundered.

However the GNECB estimate that over €64 million has laundered through Ireland in total by the criminal network. 

 The bank accounts used to launder this money belong to Irish residents who are recruited as money mules by what are known as mule herders. 

Gardaí state that these mules are recruited via social media, or through friends at parties – and also that in some cases young people with drug debts are paying them off by allowing their accounts to be used. 

They further state that mules are also recruited in other countries and flown to Ireland where they are given false documents so they can open false accounts and hand them over to the mule herder. 

13 people from one country flew to Ireland between 2018 and 2020 and opened accounts through which over €2 million was laundered. 

More details about Operation Skein can be found on the An Garda Síochána website. 

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