3,500 arrested during global Operation HAECHI-IV against financial criminals

Financial Criminals

A six-month international police operation codenamed HAECHI-IV has resulted in the arrests of nearly 3,500 people and seizures worth $300 million in 34 countries.

The exercise, which took place from July to December 2023, targeted several types of financial crimes, such as voice phishing, romance scams, online sextortion, investment fraud, money laundering related to illegal online gambling, business email compromise fraud and email fraud. trade fraud.

In addition, authorities have frozen the associated bank and VASP (virtual asset service provider) accounts in an attempt to cut off access to criminal proceeds. In total, authorities blocked 82,112 suspicious bank accounts, seizing $199 million in hard currency and $101 million in virtual assets.

“Collaboration between Philippine and Korean authorities has led to the arrest in Manila of a high-profile online gambling criminal following a two-year manhunt by the Korean National Police,” said Interpol, an international law enforcement agency. said.

Investment fraud, business email compromise and e-commerce fraud accounted for 75% of cases, the agency added, saying it had discovered a new scam in South Korea involving the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs ) with promises of huge returns. , only for the operators to complete phase a pulling carpet and abruptly left the project.

Another new trend involves the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and deepfake technology to increase the authenticity of scams, allowing criminals to pose as people known to the targets and deceive, defraud, harass and extort victims by through impersonation scams, online sexual blackmail and investment fraud.

HAECHI-IV comes more than a year after HAECHI-III, which led to the seizure of $130 million in virtual assets in connection with a global crackdown on Internet financial crimes and money laundering.

“The seizure of $300 million represents a staggering amount and clearly illustrates the driving force behind the current explosive growth of transnational organized crime,” said Stephen Kavanagh of Interpol. “This massive accumulation of illicit wealth poses a serious threat to global security and weakens the economic stability of countries around the world.”


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