By Haroon Siddique (The Guardian)
Detectives from the Met’s cybercrime unit investigating the theft of £1m from two banks using malicious software to access customer accounts have arrested four people from what they say is an organised criminal gang and seized £80,000 and a live grenade.
The arrests and seizures followed raids on properties in Enfield and Islington, in north London, on Tuesday morning. Two 31-year-old men, a 27-year-old woman and a 24-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to launder money and possession of an explosive.
Detectives from the force’s new cybercrime unit (MPCCU), launched in October, carried out the operation after a number of customers downloaded malware (malicious software) on to their computers after opening emails claiming to be from their bank.
This led to a total of £1m being siphoned off from their bank accounts and transferred to a series of other accounts, to be laundered and withdrawn as cash, Scotland Yard said.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Tunn, from MPCCU, said: “These arrests by the Met’s cybercrime unit follow an investigation into what we suspect is an international and organised crime targeting a number of bank customers in London and across the UK. The victims have been hoodwinked by malware-carrying emails purporting to be from their banks, and subsequently had money taken from their accounts.”
Officers also recovered a number of computers, smartphones and other media devices, as well as luxury goods, including designer jewellery, in the co-ordinated raids on a residential address in Stadium Mews, Islington, and another in Bowes Road, Enfield, at 7am on Tuesday. The grenade was found at the Enfield address and was secured before being removed.
The men are currently in custody at a central London police station, Scotland Yard said, while the women have been bailed to return on a date early next year.
Officers have served restraint requests to several banks for a number of accounts linked to the investigation to be frozen.