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Three German fugitives arrested in Spain over money laundering scheme

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By AFP  with Euronews
The operation was conducted by Spanish and German authorities and co-ordinated by Europol.
The operation was conducted by Spanish and German authorities and co-ordinated by Europol.   -   Copyright  Guardia Civil

Three German fugitives have been arrested in Spain on suspicion of running a major money-laundering scheme, Europol said.

The EU's police agency said in a statement that the operation had broken up a ring "operating a shadow banking system for criminals".

The scheme allegedly "processed hundreds of millions of euros of criminal transactions isolated from any oversight mechanisms governing the legal financial system."

"The criminals moved around large amounts of cash through this parallel system, helping criminals launder their illegal proceeds and fund their activities mainly linked to drug trafficking," Europol added.

The ringleader of the group -- a German national of Russian origin -- is reported to have made profits of more than €250,000 per day.

The suspects had been on the run from German authorities since 2021 and were arrested in Malaga in March.

The group allegedly used fake Bulgarian and German identities and changed their addresses and vehicles on a daily basis.

"The members of this organisation applied extreme security measures, avoiding any form of routine in their daily movements," Spain's Civil Guard added on Thursday.

Spanish authorities seized large amounts of cash, modern money counting machines, encrypted mobile phone devices, and various forged identity documents.