The Nigerian Police
The Police on Sunday said it has arrested two suspects for allegedly defrauding a German Company of 14.7 million Euros in pretext to procure COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.
He said the suspects were arrested by the Cybercrime Unit of the Force INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Abuja.
Mba said one of the suspects, 50, was a Master Degree holder in Cell Biology, while the second suspect, 41, is the Managing Director of Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.
He said the duo were members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network that cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland to defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn.
The FPRO said Hahn is a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
He said the arrest of the suspects was a sequel to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) received by the Bureau from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Mba said the MLAT was a request from the German Government for investigations into a fraudulent transaction on the procurement of COVID-19 PPE linked to a Nigerian based bank account.
“Discrete investigations by INTERPOL Nigeria revealed that the suspects and their Holland-based cohorts, specialized in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites amongst other cyber mischiefs to defraud unsuspecting members of the public across the world.
“In this instance, the suspects fraudulently obtained from the victim, the sum of 1.5m Euro and another 880,000 Euro as advanced payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7million Euros.
“Disturbed by the non-arrival of the PPEs, the victim visited the corporate office of ILBN Holdings BV in Holland to inquire reasons for the delay in supplying the items.
“That was when we found out that the company never did business with him and that the transaction was a scam,” he said.
Mba said the fraudsters merely cloned the company’s website and falsely presented themselves as representatives of the company before executing the fraudulent transaction.
He said it was on this ground that the victim reported to the Police in Holland and this led to the arrest of two suspects in Holland and investigations extended to Nigeria.
According to him, an investigation by INTERPOL Nigeria further revealed that one of the suspects received 498,000 Euro from the suspects arrested in Holland through his Citibank London account.
He said the same was transferred to an account number domiciled with a Lagos branch of a leading commercial bank in Nigeria belonging to Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.
Mba said the Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, commended the Commissioner of Police, INTERPOL, Mr Garba Umar, and operatives of INTERPOL Nigeria, Cybercrime Unit for a job well done.
He said the I-G pledged the commitment of the Police to tackle cybercrimes and other transnational crimes, adding that there would be no hiding place for internet fraudsters in the country.
Mba said the suspects would be arraigned before a competent court of law upon completion of investigations.