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Spain signals clampdown on illegal “money mules” after European raids 

The National Police have arrested 42 “money mules” who wanted to launder more than 1,340,000 euros from illicit activities

In total, 81 people were arrested in a number of European countries who took part in a co-ordinated campaign organised by Europol from February 22nd to February 26th.

More than 90 per cent of the illicit money was gained through cybercrime, mainly through the technique known as “phishing”.

Law enforcement agencies from the countries of Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Romania and Portugal all took part, with support from Moldova and a number of others.

This was the first joint European action against money mules, with the backing of the European Banking Federation .

More than 70 banks also gave their help.

The European Cybercrime Centre Europol and Eurojust have held three operational and coordination meetings in The Hague to address the individual approach to the investigation of the “money mules” in the respective countries.

During the operational phase, Europol deployed a mobile office to support the Romanian authorities. Moreover, Europol, in cooperation with Eurojust, set up a command centre to help national authorities, collating all incoming data in the databases of the Agency and gathering information for later operational analysis.

The “money mules” are people recruited by criminal organszations to receive and transfer between bank accounts and different countries, money obtained illegally by criminal organisations. Through the “money mules”, criminals have access to funds from their illegal activities without revealing their identity.

These mules are usually recruited via the web and receive substantial commissions.

Police say the success of this operation should serve as a warning to others and signals the start of an ongoing major campaign both to raise awareness of “this criminal phenomenon and its consequences.”