8 People Arrested in Spain for Role in $45M / €33M Cybercriminal Scheme


Items seized by authorities in Spain

Authorities in Spain have arrested a total of eight individuals – six Romanians and two Moroccans – for their alleged involvement in the massive cyber heist involving compromised credit cards issued by the Bank of Muscat in Oman, and the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAKBANK) in the United Arab Emirates.

Several individuals have already been arrested in the United States and Germany. These latest arrests announced by Spain’s Ministry of Interior targeted the criminal organization’s Spanish cell.

The eight people are said to have received stolen payment card information which they’ve used to make cash withdrawals from ATMs. In February, the criminals managed to withdraw around $40 million (€30 million) from ATMs located in 23 countries.

Of the total, the Spanish cell is said to have stolen close to $400,000 (€300,000) through 446 transactions at ATMs in Madrid in one of the cyber heists. In another phase of the operation, the Spanish branch is said to have made 200 fraudulent withdrawals, obtaining around $93,000 (€68,000).

In addition to arresting the eight suspects, police in Spain have also searched three houses from which they’ve seized cash, credit card encoding devices, 1,000 blank payment cards, computers and jewelry.

In the most recent cyber heists, which took place in December 2012 and February 2013, a total of $45 million ( €33 million) were stolen. However, authorities say the activities of the criminal organization have been investigated by the US since 2007. In total, the ring is said to have made around $82 million (€60 million).

One of the main players of this scheme is said to be an individual arrested in Germany. He’s suspected of being the one who breached the databases of banks to steal sensitive information and remove withdrawal limits.

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