COVID-19: Two Suspects Arrested for Defrauding German Company of 14.7m Euros

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By Kingsley Nwezeh

The Cybercrime Unit of the Nigeria Police Force, INTERPOL and the National Central Bureau, Abuja weekend arrested two suspects for their complicity in a major multi-million euro scam over the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The suspects, Babatunde Adesanya a.k.a Teddy, 50, Master Degree holder in Cell Biology; and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, 41, the Managing Director of Musterpoint Investment Nigeria Limited, who are members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network, cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland to transact with and defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

A police statement said the arrest of the suspects was sequel to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) received by the Bureau from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice conveying a request from the German government for investigations into a fraudulent transaction on the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment linked to a Nigerian-based bank account.

It said discrete investigations by INTERPOL Nigeria revealed that the suspects and their Holland-based cohorts, one Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder specialised in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites amongst other cyber mischiefs to defraud unsuspecting members of the public across the world.

The suspects, it said, fraudulently obtained from Mr Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn the sum of 1.5m euros and another 880,000 euros as advanced payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7million euros.

Disturbed by the non-arrival of the PPEs, Mr Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn eventually visited the corporate office of ILBN Holdings BV in Holland to inquire reasons for the delay in supplying the items only to find out that the company never did

business with him and that the transaction was a scam.

“The fraudsters merely cloned the company’s website and falsely presented themselves as representatives of the company before subsequently executing the fraudulent transaction.

“Consequently, he reported the case of fraud to the Police in Holland and this led to the arrest of Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder in Holland and investigations extended to Nigeria,” the statement said.

Investigation by INTERPOL Nigeria further revealed that Babatunde Adesanya received 498,000 euros from Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder through his Citibank London account and transferred same to an account number domiciled with a Lagos branch of a leading commercial bank in Nigeria belonging to Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.

The statement signed by Force PRO and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr. Frank Mba, said the IG, while commending the Commissioner of Police, INTERPOL, CP Garba Baba Umar and operatives of INTERPOL Nigeria, Cybercrime Unit for a job well done, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, assured members of the public and the international community of the commitment of the Force to tackling cybercrimes and other transnational crimes.

He reiterates that there will be no hiding place for internet fraudsters in the country. Meanwhile, the suspects will be arraigned before a competent court of law soon.