The European Money Mule Action in its 8th edition relied on the support of Europol, Eurojust, Interpol and the European banking federation (EBF) and resulted in the arrest of 2,469 mules. A total of 4,089 fraudulent transactions were identified and €17.5m intercepted. For this edition, the EMMA went out into international waters, collaborating with countries such as Australia and Colombia too.
Luxembourg was not listed as among the participating countries.
Worldwide problem relying on precarity
This money laundering practice consists of a money mule: a person who receives money from a third party in their bank account and then either transfers it to another one or withdraws it in cash and gives it to someone else. They then receive a commission for it. This procedure allows criminals to move money across several countries, making it more difficult for authorities to spot them.
“Money muling is a worldwide problem,” group spokesman Paul Wilwertz from the ABBL said. People in precarious financial situations are the target of money mule recruiters. “If historically the thieves were mainly targeting young people through social networks, we are seeing the emergence of a new modus operandi, in particular older people being abused via dating sites or fake emergency calls,” he explained to Delano.
Unregulated crypto-currencies offer new loopholes
Luxembourg’s bank union ABBL supports efforts on an EU level to put a stop to these activities, even if the “problem isn’t specific to Luxembourg,” Wilwertz said.
While the ABBL does not have precise numbers, it confirms that “it is an upcoming trend, in particular fuelled by the possibilities opened up by the use of unregulated crypto-currencies which offer new loopholes for erasing traces.” For this reason, the union has been informing some of its partner institutions and organisations in a campaign that has been disseminated among others on Facebook.