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Six people taken into custody in connection with a 113 million-euro fraud scandal.

Authorities have apprehended six individuals in a transnational crackdown on a purported investment fraud. The suspects, accused of swindling millions from victims through dubious investments, have been taken into custody.

A policewoman (l) and a policeman walk along a street.
A policewoman (l) and a policeman walk along a street.

Examinations into suspected wrongdoing. - Six people taken into custody in connection with a 113 million-euro fraud scandal.

Authorities nab six suspected scammers in international operation. In an effort to capture the individuals behind a fraudulent capital investment scheme, officials seized assets and conducted searches in numerous German states, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, as stated by the Criminal Investigation Department and the Public Prosecutor's Office in Erfurt on a recent Wednesday. The investigators are now probing these suspects for possible commercial and organized fraud.

The accused individuals are believed to have stolen around 113 million euros from people in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Spain through a scheme that involved selling supposed financial investments related to cryptocurrencies. The suspects claimed to be renting machines for exchanging cryptocurrencies and promised a 200% return on investment in three years.

Yet, it is claimed that these fraudsters didn't invest the money, but rather spent it on themselves. This type of scam is commonly known as the "Ponzi scheme," named after Charles Ponzi, an Italian con artist who made a name for himself in US history due to his elaborate swindles. He misled investors with promises of astronomical returns, merely giving them profits from the deposits of new customers - until he was eventually exposed.

The operation was carried out by approximately 280 officers from Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Austria, alongside multiple prosecutors.

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  1. The international operation also involved authorities from Bavaria and Thuringia in Germany, aiming to bring the perpetrators of the fraud to justice.
  2. Despite the large-scale operation, the whereabouts of one of the main suspects, a resident of Saxony, remain unknown.
  3. The fraudulent scheme was not limited to Germany; it also affected investors in Spain, highlighting the global reach of the crime.
  4. The Public Prosecutor's Office in Berlin is actively collaborating with its counterparts in LKA (Regional Criminal Police Office) and other German states to track down the remaining suspects.
  5. The suspected scammers are also believed to have used virtual currencies as a means to carry out their illicit activities, prompting a closer scrutiny of cryptocurrency transactions in these countries.
  6. The authorities in Lithuania have reportedly confiscated properties suspected to be connected to the fraudsters, a move aimed at recovering some of the stolen funds.
  7. The Czech Republic's financial authorities are also investigating potential money laundering activities related to the fraud scandal, as the initial investments appeared to originate from this European country.
  8. In a show of international cooperation, the authorities in Switzerland and Austria have issued arrest warrants for the extradition of the suspects living in their territories.
  9. The Erfurt-based Public Prosecutor's Office and the Criminal Investigation Department have urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities related to investment schemes, emphasizing the need for determination to combat such financial crimes.

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