Operatives of the Nigeria Police Cybercrime Unit and the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja have arrested three suspects over advance fee fraud, money laundering and romance scam.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
He said the suspects were arrested in Uromi, Edo following investigations into suspected fraudulent online procurement and supply of COVID-19 protective mask, received through the INTERPOL NCB Wiesbaden, Germany.
The FPRO said investigations had revealed that one of the suspect, 30 was an internet fraudster and a member of a Turkey-based online scamming syndicate.
He said the suspect supplies foreign and local bank accounts to receive fraudulent funds and use same as conduit to other feeder accounts.
Mba said a building worth N20 million, a Toyota RAV-4 2015 model worth N6.5 million, and a Toyota Matrix 2002 model valued at N2 million procured with the proceeds of the crime were recovered from the suspect.
He said the second suspect, 32, returned to Nigeria from Italy in February, but maintained close contacts and illicit dealings with his Italian associates.
The FPRO said investigations had revealed that he had made over N120 million from internet fraud and other cybercrime dealings.
He said investigation had also shown that he received the sum of 52, 000 EUROs recently from his criminal associates in Italy as commission for his active involvement in an international cybercrime deal.
Mba said the suspect also own a filling station established with the proceeds of the crime.
The FPRO said the third suspect, 36, an expert in internet fraud, identity theft and impersonation, falsely claimed to be a British citizen.
“He also poses to be one Kelly Galk on online dating apps which he uses to carry out romance scams and to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, locally and internationally.
“Investigation has revealed that he has made millions of Naira from his illicit cybercrime transactions since he joined the syndicate,” he said.
In a related development, Mba said that Police operatives had successfully rescued an American citizen, confined in a Lagos hotel where she was held against her wish for over a year.
He said the victim who hailed from Washington DC, USA and a retired civil servant in the US, had arrived Nigeria on Feb. 13, 2019.
The FPRO said the victim was on a visit to a 34-year-old man and a native of Ikeduru LGA of Imo whom she met on Facebook.
He said the victim was rescued by Police operatives attached to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Ogun Annex following information received from a patriotic and civic minded Nigerian.
“The rescue of the American lady is coming on the heels of a similar case of abducted Philippino lady who was lured to Nigeria by her supposed lover whom she equally met on Facebook.
“Investigations reveal that the suspect is a graduate of Business Administration and Management and an internet fraudster who has defrauded many unsuspecting members of the public both locally and internationally.
“The suspect, deliberately lured the victim into the country under the pretext of love and deceitfully married her on May 15, 2019.
“He subsequently held her captive in a hotel, extorted from her, monies amounting to a total of 48,000 US dollars,” he said.
Mba said the suspect also forcefully collected and took control of her credit and debit cards as well as the operation of her bank accounts including the receipt of her monthly retirement benefits and allowances.
He said the suspect also used the victim as a front to defraud her associates and other foreign personalities and companies.
Mba said all the suspects would be charged to court upon conclusion of investigation for prosecution in line with the Cybercrime Prevention/Prohibition Act, 2015.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
UK immigration to EU bloc nations up 30% since Brexit, naturalisations jump – Research
The number of UK nationals, who have acquired citizenship in European Union (EU) nations has jumped by 30 per cent since the Brexit referendum in 2016, a research has found.
The yearly average of UK citizens moving to any of the other 27 EU nations from 2008-2015 was nearly 57,000, while that same figure from 2016-2018 showed an average of over 73,000 annual migrations, the research by the Berlin Social Science Center, published on Monday, claimed.
This data does not account for the UK citizens who had been residing in EU nations but decided to register after the referendum, The Guardian reported.
That number grew by some 500 percent according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat.
Spain was the most popular destination for UK expatriates, with over 21,000 registrations in the two years following the Brexit vote, compared to an average annual number of 2,300 prior, the paper found.
France and Germany also saw a big jump in the number of UK nationals putting themselves on the path to citizenship.
About half of the 120,000 UK nationals in Germany are expected to have dual citizenship by the end of the year.
The authors of the study were unambiguous about the impact that Brexit had on decisions to migrate.
Because the Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels look likely to restrict employment and residency rights UK citizens had enjoyed, cosmopolitan and mobile Britons prefer to maintain access to a larger pool of employment opportunities and services.
The contentious 2016 Brexit referendum was followed by years of political crisis and a polarised public sphere in the UK.
After multiple delays, the UK finally exited the bloc in January 2020.
A transition period will run to the end of this year, during which time the two sides must reach deals in a host of fields.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Revival of ailing industries will strengthen currency -Expert
Mr Promise Amahah, an economic expert says revamping ailing industries and economic diversification in the country will help to strengthen the value of the Naira among world currencies.
He advised the Federal Government to also sustain the tempo in its diversification drive in different sectors of the economic to further boost the economy.
“The fall of the Naira did not just happen overnight. When Naira was stronger was when we had Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, Volkswagen Nigeria, Dunlop Nigeria Ltd, Michelin Nigeria, Bata and Lennards.
“Our Naira had value when we had Nigerian Airways, Steel Rolling Mills; Osogbo Steel Rolling Mill, Ajaokuta steel, Arewa Textile Mill, BEREC Batteries, General Motors and Kingsway among others,” he said.
Amahah, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Strategy Worth and Technology (SWAT), lauded Federal Government for its move to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The expert said the commitment by the Central Bank of Nigeria to revive Nigerian Cotton Textile and Garment industries was the right step in the right direction.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
China’ll not accept United States’ ‘theft’ of TikTok, says state media
China says it will not accept the United States’ “theft” of a Chinese technology company, state media reported on Tuesday.
The Trump administration’s pressuring of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company in China, to sell its United States operations to Microsoft or risk closure amounts to a “smash and grab,” the state-run China Daily newspaper wrote in an editorial.
Beijing has ways to retaliate against Washington’s pressure on the Chinese-owned short video app TikTok.
While Beijing will likely be “cautious” in imposing equivalent restrictions on United States companies in China, it has “plenty of ways” to retaliate, the paper said.
Microsoft said on Monday that it was in discussions with ByteDance to buy parts of TikTok after United States President Donald Trump gave the companies 45 days to reach a deal.
Trump had initially threatened to ban TikTok in the United States on national security grounds.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said over the weekend that Washington might take action “shortly” against TikTok and other Chinese companies believed to share data with the Chinese government.
ByteDance said in a statement late Sunday it was still committed to being a global company despite “complex and unimaginable difficulties” including the “tense” international political environment.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Lobbying for Russian pipeline spikes in Washington
As United States lawmakers plot to stop one of Moscow’s most important projects in Europe, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, lobbyists supporting it are busier than ever but disclosing few details of their work, according to government filings and current and former United States officials.
The pipeline linking Russian gas fields to Western Europe has become a lightning rod of contention in United States-Russia relations.
This is as the Trump administration concerned it would dangerously expanding the region’s energy dependence on Moscow but backers, including in Europe, saying the gas is needed.
United States President Donald Trump has already signed a sanctions bill that delayed construction on the $11 billion project, wholly-owned by Russia’s state-run Gazprom and headed by Alexei Miller, a long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But lawmakers fearful the measures are not enough to prevent the pipeline’s completion are contemplating further action.
That is more than double the amount during the same period a year ago, and more than all of 2018, the first full year the project lobbied in Washington.
But exactly who the lobbyists meet with is a mystery because they have not registered with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), a law passed in 1938 to limit the influence of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia in United States politics.
Under FARA, lobbyists must disclose every meeting with United States officials, along with the materials they distribute.
Instead, the Nord Stream 2 lobbyists have registered under the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act, a law that amended FARA by allowing lobbyists for foreign companies or individuals to report much less information as long as their work is not intended to benefit a foreign government.
Representatives for Nord Stream 2 and the lobbying companies did not respond to requests for comment.
But Nord Stream 2 has characterised itself as a commercial, not political, project.
A senior Trump administration official took issue with that, saying the lobbyists are seeking to further Moscow’s national interests.
“The fact that you’ve got people working for Gazprom, which is essentially the Russian state, you know to manipulate our processes … it’s crazy,’’ the official said, asking not to be named discussing the issue.
Danielle Nichols, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, which handles FARA registrations, said the department had no comment at this time.
Lobbyists for Nord Stream 2’s foreign opponents, by contrast, have registered under FARA.
Andriy Kobolyev, Naftogaz’s Chief Executive told Reuters in an email that company representatives travel to Washington about once a month to provide updates on the status of Nord Stream 2 and discuss how to stop the pipeline.
Nord Stream 2 will double the capacity of an existing line to Germany under the Baltic Sea to 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year, enough to supply 26 million households.
It would circumvent United States ally Ukraine, depriving it of potentially billions of dollars in transit fees, and compete with United States efforts to sell liquefied natural gas into Europe.
United States senators Ted Cruz, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, are among the pipeline’s biggest opponents in Congress.
Both are pushing new sanctions measures that would target insurers of Gazprom vessels that would lay the last 100 miles (160 km) of pipe in Danish waters, where unexploded bombs from World War II lie in the pipeline’s path.
Neither senator responded to a request for comment.
Nord Stream 2 backers say Germany and other European countries need Russian gas and Germany has threatened retaliatory action if United States sanctions stop the project.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)