Computer expert arrested in €14m fraud probe investigated for links to ‘Black Axe’ mafia


A 32-year-old computer expert who was arrested in Dublin today for directing the activities of a criminal gang is suspected of having links to a feared Nigerian crime organisation called Black Axe

A 32-year-old computer expert who was arrested in Dublin today for directing the activities of a criminal gang is suspected of having links to a feared Nigerian crime organisation called Black Axe.

Senior sources have described the arrest as “highly significant” and the Balbriggan based suspect is considered one of the main players in Ireland involved in a “highly organised and sophisticated international criminal organisation.”Announcing details of the arrest today, a garda spokeswoman said that the criminal organisation has stolen over €14 million worldwide in invoice redirect frauds/BEC frauds with at least €8 to €9 million laundered through the bank accounts of gang members and money mules all over Ireland.

The arrested man has been the focus of a huge investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) who have been monitoring his activities for months.“This arrest had been planned for a number of weeks and the suspect had been spending a lot of time in the UK over the past year,” a senior source said.

The detained man is an expert computer programmer who works for a company who is contracted to a major multinational corporation based in Dublin.“Gardai believe that he has been using his expertise in computers to facilitate very serious criminality. There is a lot that needs to be put to this suspect,” the source said.

Specialist detectives are probing his suspected links to the Nigerian Black Axe mafia syndicate which first emerged in the 1970’s when it was involved in ritual murders but has evolved into one of the biggest fraud mobs operating across the world often recruiting intelligent gang members in universities.

In April, 30 suspected gang members were arrested in Italy where they are facing around 100 criminal charges after police found that they used the Bitcoin cryptocurrency to carry out clandestine financial transactions on the dark web.The major garda investigation into the suspect detained at Balbriggan Garda Station has established that he has multiple cryptocurrency accounts as well as Irish and international bank accounts.

Daily Digest NewsletterGet today’s news headlines, opinion, sport and more direct to your inbox at 7.30am every morning, and every evening, with our free daily newsletter.Enter email addressSign UpDetectives believe that €120,000 in one of the suspect’s bank accounts is money laundered from a serious fraud offence.

Around €10,000 which is suspected of being part of the proceeds a smishing scam has also been discovered in another account.And detectives believe that cash found in yet another bank account is the proceeds of a major fraud in Germany in which there was five victims.

The arrested man is also suspected of recruiting a number of money mules and officers from the GNECB have linked the suspect to a money mule in which €60,000 was discovered in an account by detectives investigating an invoice redirect fraud against an Irish company.

Detectives are also investigating the suspect’s links to a major scam last year in which an Irish bank was defrauded of around €250,000.“This individual is suspected of being at or very near the top of the food chain of this criminal organisation in Ireland,” the source pointed out.

He is being detained under anti-gangland legislation and call be held for up to a week.The arrest is just the latest as part of Operation SKEIN which has led to almost 30 arrests nationwide this year including three for directing the criminal organisation involved in the €14 million fraud.

“The man was arrested in relation to an offence of directing a criminal organisation, contrary to Section 71A of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006 as amended,” a garda spokeswoman said.“He is also suspected to be involved in the recruitment of money mules and the laundering of the proceeds of crime through multiple bank accounts.

“During the course of the arrest a large amount of potential evidence was seized including phones, laptops, bank cards and other documents,” she added.

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