By Deborah Mustapha
The International Criminal Police Organisation, Interpol, has recently uncovered sum of €1.5m face masks embezzlement wired to Nigeria involving Ireland, Germany, and Netherlands countries.
According to Interpol Secretary General, Jürgen Stock, he said that compromised emails were used to carry out the worldly fraud.
The global shortage of face masks in this era of coronavirus pandemic had made the German authorities to seek important personal protective equipment.
To recall that the action started in March when German health authorities contracted two sales companies in Zurich and Hamburg to procure EUR 15 million worth of face masks.
They got an email from one of the contracted companies, explained that their request cannot be met, unfortunately.
But in the mail, the contacted company referred the German health authorities to a company in Spain selling face masks, posting the URL of the company’s site in the body of the mail.
Unknown to prospective buyers, the site was fake and the legit email addresses had been compromised.
The Interpol explained that the newly contacted Spanish company, through a chain of emails, initially claimed to have 10 million masks, only for the delivery to fall through.
“As a consolation, they referred the buyers to a ‘trusted’ dealer in Ireland. The Irish middleman promised to put them in touch with a different supplier, this time in the Netherlands.
“Claiming to have a strong commercial relationship with the company, the man provided assurances that the alleged Dutch company would be able to supply the 10 million face masks.
“An agreement for an initial delivery of 1.5 million masks was made, in exchange for an up-front payment of EUR 1.5 million.
“The buyers initiated a bank transfer to Ireland and prepared for delivery.
“The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service quickly tracked down the EUR 880,000 which had been transferred from the German company.
“Nearly EUR 500,000 of those funds had already been sent to the United Kingdom, all of which was destined for an account in Nigeria”, he submitted.
The stock further disclosed that’s the operation has already led to the arrest of two suspects in the Netherlands and more arrests would be made.
Meanwhile, a face mask is used before and when one who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks, they send tiny droplets with the coronavirus into the air. That’s where a mask can help.
A face mask covers your mouth and nose. It can block the release of virus-filled droplets into the air when you cough or sneeze. This helps slow the spread of COVID-19.
However, there’s little evidence that wearing a cloth face mask keeps you from catching the virus. The main benefit is to protect the people around you.