Fraudsters steal almost 100 million hryvnias from accounts of Mariupol residents

Law enforcement officers have exposed a big financial scheme of assistance to the so-called "DPR" and "LPR" [self-proclaimed and non-recognised Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic – ed.].

Source: Press service of the Security Service of Ukraine; press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office

Details: The investigation has shown that a group of people engaged in financial fraud has operated in separate oblasts of Ukraine along with representatives of the above-mentioned sham republics since May 2022.

 

Their goal was to possess funds that were on the accounts of Ukrainian citizens who are in temporarily occupied territories at the moment; in particular, this referred to Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

A criminal group from temporarily occupied Donetsk is among the organisers of this scheme; it possessed a customer database of captured bank branches, including those in Mariupol.

These were the personal data of almost 4,000 local residents, including those who were killed or deported to the Russian Federation but had savings in financial institutions in territories controlled by the Ukrainian government at the moment.

Criminals have used special equipment to change the routing of calls and called Ukrainian banks allegedly on behalf of account owners, receiving access to online banking systems.

Scheme organisers have used a call centre in temporarily occupied Donetsk to call Ukrainian banks en masse. Employees of this so-called call centre used the Internet and special equipment in non-occupied territories of Ukraine to call relevant institutions, allegedly as true account owners.

 

In order to hide traces of the crime, the criminals have exchanged stolen funds for cryptocurrency.

Then, they transferred those funds through crypto platforms to the "DPR" and "LPR" representatives as well. The money was used for the benefit of terrorist organisations’ participants to damage Ukraine’s national security.

Within the investigation, 27 searches in eight oblasts of Ukraine have been conducted. Material evidence that proves criminal activity has been seized. Crypto assets worth 65 million hryvnias [approximately US$1.8 million – ed.] were seized as well. The total amount of the stolen funds is estimated to be 100 million hryvnias [about US$2.7 million].

Video: a search at one of the points used by criminals in the territory controlled by Ukraine

 
 

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