3 held in Alicante stem cell scam

THREE people have been arrested in Alicante for an alleged scam involving stem cell research.

 Parents were charged thousands of euros duped into believing blood from their children’s umbilical cords was being extracted for stem cell research which could help them in later life.

The suspects made victims believe that the sample extracted was sent to German laboratories to be frozen.

Mystery surrounds what happened to the samples, but the Guardia Civil believe they were sold or sent to laboratories for different purposes.

In the operation, codenamed ‘Cigoto’ and carried out in Alicante, the owner of a company, Representaciones Biomedicas Levante, S.L., his wife and another woman have been arrested for fraud and document falsification, Guardia Civil said.

In August last year the German Health Authorities detected that a certificate sent by the company in Alicante, had been forged.

The document referred to the storage and processing of stem cells and had been issued in the name of a laboratory that did not exist, although its name was very similar to a real laboratory.

An investigation was launched by the Guardia Civil, who discovered that a resident of Ibi, Alicante, was the administrator for ‘Representaciones Biomedicas Levante’ but that he had been dismissed in February last year.

Following that, the created the companies ‘Instituto Celular’ and ‘Cryocell’ and visited the health care professionals he had formerly been dealing with as a commercial representative that ‘Representaciones Biomedicas Levante’ had changed its name.

He created websites for the new companies and gave talks on preparing for birth in order to gain new clients.

He allegedly charged between €1,800 and €2,500 to freeze stem cells, and handed out contracts as well as certificates about the storage of the samples.

Officers seized documents, stamps, equipment to forge documents, mobile phones and health equipment used to make and send the blood extraction kits.

The man has been remanded to prison without bail and the two women released with charges.

By Jennifer Leighfield

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