A fleet of 88 vehicles, worth over €2m, and more than €200,000 in bank accounts has been seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau in an Irish-British operation targeting an international cyber-fraud gang.
CAB, assisted by garda national units and elite armed officers, swooped on six addresses — four homes and two businesses — in Tipperary and Clare.
The bureau operation, codenamed Bagana, was targeting the assets of an international organised crime group, comprised of Pakistani and Lithuanian nationals, involved in cyberfraud and money laundering in the UK.
In Britain, the West Midlands Police arrested four people “on suspicion of money laundering and fraud”.
The suspected laundering of criminal proceeds in Ireland was focused was a second-hand car business in Co Tipperary.
In a statement, the bureau said it conducted the operation in conjunction with the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.
The gang in question is suspected of laundering the proceeds of ‘mandate fraud’, also referred to as ‘invoice redirect fraud’.
This is where fraudsters pose as a creditor that is owed money by a company and redirects the payment into a new bank account.
The CAB statement said that searches were conducted at two homes and one business premises in Co Clare, and two homes and one business premises in Co Tipperary.
The search of the business premises in County Tipperary, a used car outlet, continued during Wednesday.
The statement said the following was seized:
- 85 cars, two flatbed trucks seized one car transporter;
- Approximate value of all vehicles seized €2m;
- €21,000 in cash;
- €209,000 restrained in financial accounts
The cars included Range Rovers, BMWs, Volvos and Hyundai models.
Other units involved included the Emergency Response Unit, the Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit, which is attached to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda Technical Bureau and the Revenue Customs Dog Unit.
Chief Bureau Officer, Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins said: "Today’s search operation is an example of the ongoing cooperation between the Criminal Assets Bureau, An Garda Síochána and UK Police Forces in the investigation of International Organised Criminal Groups.”
A statement from the West Midlands Police said: “We conducted a number of warrants in Dudley and Sandwell the early hours of this morning
“Four people; two women aged 22 and 35, and two men, aged 38 and 41, were arrested from the properties on suspicion of money laundering and fraud."