Simone Weinglass and BBC did a great job in identifying the issues of the law enforcement in Europe!
The Milton Group is a transnational cybercriminal organization!
In autumn 2022 it got public that in a concerted action, European authorities succeeded in striking a blow against the “Milton Group” after years of investigations. The Milton group a vast criminal network is said to have defrauded hundreds of thousands of investors worldwide on investment scams. Milton group has been running infamous trading scams like EverFX, BProFX since 2017. In a joint press release, the Bavarian and Saxon public prosecutors’ offices report damages of more than 100 million euros in Germany alone and total damages in the billions worldwide.
Simultaneous boiler room raids were carried out on November 8 in Georgia, northern Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. Extensive evidence was seized and five suspects were arrested. According to the statement, more than 500 computers, cell phones, electronic devices and numerous documents were seized. In addition, “asset seizures in the tens of millions of euros were obtained” and accounts, cash, Bitcoin wallets and “other valuables” were seized.
In cooperation with a former Milton group employee turned whistleblower, a BBC team around Simone Weinglass followed the group’s roots to identify the group’s beneficial owners. The interviews were done and recorded in a great video (compare below), revealing the issues of the European law enforcement initiatives.
Law enforcment in Europe has to change its approach!
Nino Goldbeck, the chief prosecutor in Cybercrime Bamberg, emphasized that due to the efforts of the Germans, the number of German victims is decreasing (something we can not confirm). But he stressed that “of course,” the Germans are not in charge of the other European countries as “We can not save the world.” An approach we can confirm for most of the authorities in Europe. Regarding financial and business services, Europe is eager to have a unified market – no borders. With the planned “Instant Payments” efforts in the EU, Swedish people can transfer their money to a Sofia bank account within minutes. But when it comes to law enforcement, it takes months and years to get simple information from the Bulgarian authorities.
We can confirm that Germany is leading the efforts to do boiler room raids. These actions are cleaning up the boiler room scene in Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries. So the scammers have to move their boiler rooms to other countries – out of the reach of the European authorities – but probably as successful as before the raids. So for sure, this approach will not solve the still massive increase in online fraud in Europe.
As Simone Weinglass is reporting, no beneficial owners of the Milton group have been charged yet and at the screening date of the BBC investigation report (see below) the Milton group is already operating at about the level they did before the raids.
Transnational criminal organizations like the Milton group do not know regional borders and jurisdictions, they act globally, and therefore only transnational law enforcement initiatives will show real effects in curbing such transnational cybercriminal organizations.