Fifteen people have been arrested in Malta as part of operation Proteus, a highly sophisticated money laundering case, following months of intensive investigations by the Maltese Anti-Money Laundering Section within the Financial Crime Investigations Department.
During this operation, the Maltese Police seized:
- 36 vehicles;
- €60,000 in cash;
- a considerable amount of jewellery and designer clothes;
- mobile phones, computers, and servers;
- a large number of documents, which are still being analysed;
- several million euros of laundered money frozen.
While investigations into this case are still ongoing, five persons have already been charged in a Maltese Court with money laundering charges and other offences. The Maltese Taskforce was supported by Europol and its European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC) and its Analysis Project Sustrans, which is involved in cases related to organised crime networks involved in money laundering. Two Europol experts were deployed on-the-spot during the action week in Malta.
Highly sophisticated cases of money laundering and fraud that target individuals, companies and the public sector continue to threaten economic growth and the integrity of financial systems.
Every year, law enforcement in the EU carries out hundreds of international financial crime investigations, often leading to exceptional results, arrests, and dismantling criminal groups. However, the EU still shows mediocre results when it comes to recovering criminal assets – criminals keep over 98% of their assets. To respond to this threat, Europol has launched EFECC.
Europol is the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement cooperation; its primary goal is to achieve a safer Europe by coordinating and connecting national law enforcement authorities and providing operational analysis, forensics, and technical support.