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COVID-19 scam: Two suspects arrested for defrauding German coy of 14.7 Euros

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Joy Anyim

Operatives of the Cybercrime Unit of the Nigeria Police Force of the INTERPOL, National Central Bureau, Abuja, have arrested two suspects for their alleged involvement in a 14. 7million Euros  Covid-19 scam.

The suspects, Babatunde Adesanya, alias Teddy, 50, and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, 41, suspected to be members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network, reportedly falsely obtained the said sum from a German company in pretence of wanting to help purchase COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Adesanya, a Master’s Degree holder, and Abass, the Managing Director of Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd, had allegedly cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland to transact with and defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

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According to the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr. Frank Mba, in a  statement, on Sunday, the arrest of the suspects was sequel to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) received by the Bureau from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice conveying a request from the German Government for investigations into a fraudulent transaction on the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment linked to a Nigerian-based Bank Account.

Mba said, “Discrete investigations by INTERPOL Nigeria revealed that the suspects and their Holland-based cohorts, one Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder specialized in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites amongst other cyber mischiefs to defraud unsuspecting members of the public across the world.

“In this instance, the suspects fraudulently obtained from Mr Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn the sum of 1.5million Euro and another 880,000 Euro as advance payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7 million Euros. Disturbed by the non-arrival of the PPEs, Mr Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn eventually visited the corporate office of ILBN Holdings BV in Holland to inquire reasons for the delay in supplying the items only to find out that the company never did business with him and that the transaction was a scam.

“The fraudsters merely cloned the company’s website and falsely presented themselves as representatives of the company before subsequently executing the fraudulent transaction. Consequently, he reported the case of fraud to the Police in Holland and this led to the arrest of Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder in Holland and investigations extended to Nigeria.

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“Investigation by INTERPOL Nigeria further revealed that Babatunde Adesanya received 498,000 Euro from Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder through his Citibank London account and transferred same to an account number domiciled with a Lagos branch of a leading commercial bank in Nigeria belonging to Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.”

The PPRO said the Inspector Gemeral of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu had commended the Commissioner of Police, INTERPOL, CP Garba Baba Umar and operatives of INTERPOL Nigeria, Cybercrime Unit for a job well done.

“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, assures members of the public and the international community of the commitment of the Force to tackling cybercrimes and other transnational crimes. He reiterates that there will be no hiding place for internet fraudsters in the country,” he said.   

Meanwhile, Mba said that the suspects will be arraigned before a competent court of law soon.

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