Israeli cops vs. French crypto scammers. Who won?
By Oleksii Haiduchyk 1409 23 Aug 2022
Israeli law enforcement authorities exposed a scheme to launder money stolen from the French government. The scheme was based on the exchange of cryptocurrencies, and the stolen money was intended for organizations affected by Covid-19.
Israeli police detained three suspects accused of laundering French money. The arrests were made as part of a covert operation conducted by Israel’s special anti-crime unit Lahav 433.
The Israeli Tax Authority and cybercrime units were also involved in the investigation. The investigation began earlier this year in cooperation with French police, who started working on the case last year.
So far, it is known that the French scammers took advantage of a special support program that aided organizations affected by Covid-19. They registered fictitious companies and applied for the money for recovery. Since the French state was actively fighting the consequences of the pandemic, the money was disbursed quickly and uncontrollably.
After receiving the money, they were sent to Israel, where various cryptocurrencies were bought and exchanged. When the trail was muddled enough, Israeli scammers purchased fiat currency, which was sent back to France. Law enforcement is withholding more details about the scheme.
According to preliminary reports, several million euros were stolen during the scammers’ operation. Israeli police promise to publish a detailed release soon. It will fully describe the scheme and the amount of damage inflicted.