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September 30, 2020
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Raids against blackmail, cigarette smuggling rings

Prosecutors with the Organised Crime and Terrorism Investigation Department (DIICOT) yesterday conducted multiple raids as part of two separate investigations against a racketeering ring and a cigarette smuggling network, Mediafax said.

In Arges County, investigators raises the homes of six people suspected of loansharking and extortion. The six suspects are believed to have set up an organised crime group which granted loans at an interest rate of 20 to 100 per cent to people in Olt and Arges counties. Then, by threats and acts of violence, the victims were forced to sign receipts or notary documents attesting that they had received higher loans than they had actually contracted. The victims were then forcibly stripped of their goods and properties in exchange for the owed money, investigators said.

During yesterday’s searches, investigators seized various amounts of money and documents confirming the group’s criminal activities. The investigation was begun after several victims filed complaints against the group. According to prosecutors, the group caused losses of about EUR 300,000 and has made at least seven victims.

In the other case, DIICOT prosecutors conducted 35 searches in four localities in Maramures County. The raids were part of an investigation against about 60 people believed to be members of a cigarette smuggling network. More than 100 border police agents took part in the raids, as the group is believed to be smuggling cigarettes from Ukraine. “The operation is aimed at dismantling a criminal group smuggling cigarettes from Ukraine. The group is made of over 60 people, Romanians and Ukrainians, and has been monitored since March 2011,” a spokesperson for the Maramures Border Police Inspectorate, Radu Lungu, told Mediafax.

Seven held on charges of computer fraud

Meanwhile, seven people were detained on charges of computer fraud in Sibiu and were to be brought before the court with a request to be taken into preventive custody yesterday. The seven include the alleged leaders of a major computer fraud ring dismantled by DIICOT Sibiu the previous day. A total of 20 people were interrogated after raids were conducted at several locations on Tuesday. According to investigators, the group caused at least EUR 120,000 in losses to 130 foreign citizens.

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