The Malta Independent 14 April 2024, Sunday
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Eurojust suspects Maltese financial institution laundered millions of euros

Wednesday, 21 February 2024, 12:50 Last update: about 3 months ago

A Maltese financial institution is believed to have laundered millions since the end of 2015, a statement by the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) reveals.

National authorities in Latvia, Germany, France, Italy and Malta have carried out over 100 searches in a large-scale operation against a Russian-Eurasian criminal network and a Maltese-based financial institution allegedly involved in money-laundering services, Eurojust said.

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Four suspects were detained during an action day supported by Eurojust and Europol. Potential suspects and witnesses were also interviewed in Latvia, Germany, Estonia and Malta, it said.

During the actions, over 460 police officers were deployed to carry out the searches. "Germany also deployed four officers to support the investigations and searches in Latvia and Malta. In addition to the arrests, various bank accounts and properties were seized."

"The Maltese financial institution laundered at least €4.5 million in proceedings from criminal activities since end of 2015. The total sum of laundered money could amount to tens of millions of euros. The financial institution and organised crime group (OCG) behind it offered money-laundering services via a network of fake enterprises and individuals who were registered directors, without performing any real business activities." The name of the institution was not included in the statement.

The OCG operated mainly from Riga and Berlin, it said. "Investigations were initiated in 2021 by the Latvian authorities after they noticed unusual money transfers from Latvia to the Maltese financial institution. Simultaneously, the German authorities had started investigations into suspicious money flows involving the same financial institution."

Eurojust said that it supported the concerted action by setting up a coordination centre and establishing and funding a joint investigation team between the German and Latvian authorities. "The Agency also organised five dedicated coordination meetings to prepare for the action day and assisted with the execution of European Investigation Orders in the countries involved."

"On the action day, Europol deployed a money laundering expert to Latvia and set up a mobile office at Eurojust's coordination centre to support the operation. Since December 2021, Europol has been supporting the investigation by providing operational and financial analysis and operational expertise. The Agency also supported the joint investigation team and provided financial support to the case."

Operations were carried out by the following authorities:

Latvia: Rīga Northern Prosecution Office; Rīga Judicial Region Prosecution Office; 1st Unit of the Economic Crime Enforcement Department of the Central Criminal Police Department of the State Police.

Germany: Public Prosecutor's Office Berlin (Staatsanwaltschaft Berlin); State Office of Criminal Investigations Berlin (Landeskriminalamt Berlin).

Estonia: Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Estonia and Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.

France: Public Prosecutor's Office and Investigative Judge - Judicial Court of Nice; National Police (DIPN) Alpes-Maritimes Division (Judicial Police Nice; Research and Intervention Brigade; Financial Brigade) - Border Police.

Italy: Public Prosecutor's Office Rome; Guardia di Finanza, Financial Police Unit Rome (Nucleo Polizia Economica e Finanziaria di Roma).

Malta: Financial Crimes Investigations Department and Asset Recovery Bureau of the Malta Police.

 

 

 


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