Europol, Spanish and German Police Bust Shadow Banking Ring

Published: 09 May 2022

Shadow BankingThree German national operated a shadow banking system in Spain, dealing with millions of dollars in illegal proceeds. (Photo: PxHere, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

In a Europol coordinated operation, Spanish and German police dismantled a money laundering ring that has operated a parallel banking system for criminals, laundering hundreds of millions of drug money, the European Union’s law enforcement agency said in a statement Thursday.

The ring “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,” the agency said.

Spanish police in Malaga apprehended three German nationals suspected of running the shadow banking system that handled the illegal transactions outside of the legitimate financial system’s supervision procedures.

The criminal network’s ringleader would negotiate commissions of up to 5% for every million euros (US$1.05 million) managed, with profits estimated at more than 250,000 euro ($264,374) per day.

The operation was carried out on March 30, but details were not released earlier owing to operational considerations.

“All three suspects have been on the run from the German authorities since 2021. The criminal organization’s ringleader — a German national of Russian origin — features among those arrested,” read the statement.