By John Ensor •
Published: 27 Jan 2024 • 18:42
Guardia Civil making arrests.
A gang dedicated to money laundering from the proceeds of illegal gambling has been closed down by law enforcement authorities.
A report issued on Saturday, January 27, detailed a recent crackdown by the Guardia Civil, in which they dismantled a sophisticated organisation that specialised in money laundering through unregulated gambling activities.
The investigation began in 2019 and culminated in the arrest of three individuals and further investigation of eight others across Bizkaia (Basque country)and Alicante.
The group is accused of money laundering, membership in a criminal organization, crimes against public finances, fraud, and identity theft.
The Guardia Civil’s Operation Kalderobiz unearthed a complex scheme involving false profiles on online betting sites, linked to over 2,000 virtual bank cards.
These profiles were created using the identities of approximately 1,500 South American residents. The group reportedly moved about €2.5 million across various European countries.
The gang’s professionally run operation involved transferring small sums to betting houses in Gibraltar and Malta, then laundering larger ‘winnings’ back into the organization’s accounts.
This process effectively masked their activities from the rigorous anti-money laundering checks of gaming entities.
The network, split between Bizkaia and Alicante, employed distinct strategies. In Bizkaia, the group, guided by financial and tax professionals, established commercial companies to funnel their illicit profits.
These companies not only obscured the money trail but also minimized their tax liabilities, providing a veneer of legitimacy to their earnings.
Conversely, the Alicante faction, led by an unemployed individual, focused on laundering money through the purchase of luxury real estate and vehicles, valued at around €400,000.
During the operation, authorities conducted six searches in homes and a company headquarters in Bizkaia and Alicante.
They seized a significant cache of items including 677 banking products, €56,200 in cash, 23 mobile phones, various electronic devices, five luxury watches, and a wealth of banking documents.
The effort was a collaboration between several specialised units of the Guardia Civil, including the Judicial Police, Reserve Nucleus, and Cynological Services from both Bizkaia and Alicante.
The First Court of Instance in Instruction No. 2 of Getxo directed these extensive efforts, demonstrating the Guardia Civil’s unwavering commitment to combating sophisticated financial crimes.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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