Earlier today, Interpol released details of a new operation designed to target notorious West African criminal gang Black Axe, which led to 75 arrests.
It’s been reported that operation Jackal saw the policing organization coordinate forces in 14 countries across four continents, in a bid to put pressure on one of the world’s most prolific financial crime syndicates.
As a result, one “action week” at the end of September led to dozens of arrests and 49 property searches in Ireland, South Africa and Italy.
It appears that at the same time, local police intercepted €1.2m ($1.1m) in bank accounts, using Interpol’s Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP), which is currently being trialled.
“The ARRP is a game-changer in the fight against global financial crime, where speed and international cooperation are crucial to intercepting illicit funds before they disappear into the pockets of money mules abroad,” said Rory Corcoran, director of the Interpol Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC).
“Interpol’s Global Financial Crime Task Force has shown remarkable effectiveness in disrupting illicit financial flows, bringing together cyber and finance experts across sectors to track and cut off criminal money trails.”
In addition, police also seized assets including 12,000 SIM cards, which has helped them to build leads in other cases and identify 70 new suspects.
Further to this, Interpol issued seven purple notices detailing the tactics and techniques employed by Black Axe members, and six red notices requesting the arrest of internationally wanted fugitives.
Alongside this, other assets seized were residential property, three cars and tens of thousands of dollars in cash.
In conclusion, Black Axe is believed to have been in operation for decades. Although it’s involved in various criminal endeavors, it has made significant sums in romance fraud, business email compromise (BEC) and other financial crimes.
“Illicit financial funds are the lifeblood of transnational organized crime, and we have witnessed how groups like Black Axe will channel money gained from online financial scams into other crime areas, such as drugs and human trafficking. These groups demand a global response,” said Stephen Kavanagh, Interpol’s executive director of police services.