Europol: Iraqi money laundering group dismantled in Germany

BRUSSELS, March 31 (KUNA) — An Iraqi organised crime group based in Germany suspected of performing money laundering services for international heroin traffickers was dismantled on March 16, Europol, based at the Hague, announced Thursday.
The operation was preceded by extensive and complex criminal investigations supported by Europol, which coordinated the law enforcement authorities in France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
The operation was conducted by hundreds of police and customs officers and resulted in a number of house searches and the arrest of five suspects, who were remanded in custody.
This criminal syndicate, composed mainly of Iraqi nationals, was responsible for collecting the proceeds of heroin sales throughout Europe (Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK) and laundering these funds to the Middle East through Germany, with an estimated total amount of 5 million euro already laundered.
The criminalsآ’ modus operandi involves the use of cash couriers traveling by car to pick up dirty cash all over Europe, followed by the use of trade-based money laundering techniques to forward the collected assets to the Middle East.
Expensive second-hand cars, heavy machinery and construction equipment are purchased in Germany and subsequently exported to Iraq, where the goods are ultimately resold in exchange for cash.
Europol said it has been supporting this operation since December 2014 by providing analytical and operational support to all involved EU Member States. (end) nk.rk