The alleged boss of a billion-euro crypto scam has been arrested at El Prat airport in Barcelona, Spain
Catalan police announced today, Friday, December 16, that they detained the alleged Spanish head of an international crypto scam accused of stealing billions of euros from hundreds of thousands of investors.
The man was a passenger on a flight from Romania to Barcelona. Police say they entered the plane to arrest him as soon as his flight touched down. He has since been charged with belonging to a criminal organisation and committing fraud.
The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) is involved in a related international investigation. In November this year, authorities coordinated raids in 15 call centers in Eastern Europe and made five other arrests.
The criminal network presented themselves as brokers who could help investors make a lot of money with small investments in crypto, according to the Eurojust agency.
Suspects deceived victims by appearing professional with the call centers or using “other modes of so-called social engineering.” Then, according to Eurojust, they encouraged victims to invest in web platforms controlled by the criminal organisation.
One of those platforms was the Everfx exchange, which was predominant in Spain. At one point, it was officially sponsored by the Sevilla football club.
Authorities suspect that in Spain alone, around 17,000 people fell victim to the scam. Cryptocurrency has been at the center of some of the biggest financial scams in recent times.
Earlier this week, Sam Bankman-Fried was detained in the Bahamas for a host of financial crimes related to his FTX exchange. The platform’s collapse resulted in the loss of more than $7 billion.