33 people were detained by authorities in Italy and Spain as part of an international operation against a criminal organization engaged in money laundering.
The accused, who are of Italian, Albanian, Colombian, Moroccan, and Syrian nationalities, established a global network of businesses to launder illicit funds.
The criminal network provided a skilled criminal service to conceal the source of the revenues from South American drug trafficking as a so-called "money laundering network controller".
Money-laundering experts from the Italian Guardia di Finanza discovered a global network of electronics companies with the assistance of Europol and Eurojust and seized assets worth EUR 18.5 million.
The complex framework employed firms from a number of nations, including China, Turkey, and the United States of America. The organized crime was able to hide the nature, source, location, ownership, control, origin, and/or destination of unlawfully acquired funds and escape being caught thanks to this intricate web of businesses.
The accused criminals provided a service of trade-based money laundering known as the "Black Market Pesos Exchange" in order to launder drug earnings made in Europe.
Through this procedure, there is a lower chance that money will be lost due to seizures, and funds can be accessed more quickly. As a sort of credit, the drug manufacturers would give drugs to the Italian buyers.
Brokers then took the money made from the sale of the drugs in Europe, introduced it into businesses, and used it to place orders for items like mobile phones from China, to give just one example.
These products were subsequently transported from the United States to Colombia, where they were put up for sale. When the drugs were sold, cartels like the Grupo Armado Organizado got the money as a covert payment for the drugs supplied to European vendors.
The activity of the criminal network may be dismantled thanks to international law enforcement collaboration between the Italian Guardia di Finanza and the Spanish Polica Nacional, supported by Europol and Eurojust. 18.5 million euros were used to launder money for organized crime organizations in Italy alone.
On the day of the action, Europol sent a money-laundering expert to the Eurojust-run coordination center in a mobile office. Since May 2020, Europol has been assisting with the case by providing intelligence, expertise, and operational analysis, as well as funding for operational meetings.
By fLEXI tEAM