A man has been extradited to the Republic to face dozens of money laundering charges following a lengthy investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB). The suspect, a Spanish citizen in his late 40s, is alleged to have been involved in laundering almost €500,000 stolen in a fraud, while he was based in Co Tipperary, five years ago.
He was flown into Dublin on Wednesday evening from the UK, where he had been in detention for a short period. His arrest in Britain was on foot of a Trade and Co-Operation Agreement Warrant (TCA), which has replaced the European Arrest Warrant as Britain has left the European Union.
The Irish Times understands he will face more than 40 money laundering charges when he appears before the courts in Dublin on Thursday morning. On his arrival in Dublin on Wednesday evening he was taken to Ballymun Garda station, north Dublin, and was due to appear before the Courts of Criminal Justice on Thursday morning.
The investigation into the man is part of Operation Skein, which is being conducted by the GNECB into invoice redirect frauds, usually targeting businesses and duping them into sending, often large, sums of money to bank accounts controlled by fraudsters.
In 2017 a Dutch company working in the pharmaceutical sector was targeted with fake invoices via one of its offices in Switzerland. The fraudsters presented themselves in fraudulent emails as an Italian trading partner of the Dutch company.
Those behind the scam sent a small number of invoices, seeking payments and containing new bank account details into which the money was to be paid. The funds were transferred by the Dutch firm, whose employees believed they were settling legitimate invoices.
Almost €500,000 was allegedly stolen and then laundered via a series of bank accounts in Ireland in October and November 2017. It is alleged the man being detained in Dublin on Wednesday evening was involved in the money laundering component of the crime from his Co Tipperary base at the time.
“The male has been charged in relation to an investigation conducted by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau [GNECB], under Operation Skein, into the laundering of the proceeds of Business Email Compromise [BEC] fraud on dates between October 2017 and November 2017,” Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin, said in a brief statement.