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11 Nigerians are detained by German police for dating fraud

Apr 30, 2024 | International | 0 comments

German police announced the arrest of 11 individuals suspected to be part of the Nigerian mafia gang responsible for orchestrating an extensive dating fraud scheme. The arrests were disclosed on Wednesday.

According to Bavarian police, the Black Axe gang, involved in various criminal activities internationally, focused primarily on romance scams and money laundering in Germany. They described the dating deception as a modern iteration of marriage fraud.

The perpetrators, utilizing false identities, would engage in online relationships with the intention of marriage, subsequently soliciting money from their victims under pretences. The funds obtained were funnelled to the Black Axe gang in Nigeria through financial intermediaries.

To launder the illicit proceeds, the gang employed a commodity-based scheme, purchasing goods often masquerading as charitable donations and shipping them to Nigeria. In Bavaria alone, 450 cases of romance scamming were reported in 2023, resulting in damages totalling €5.3 million ($5.7 million).

The suspects, all Nigerian citizens aged between 29 and 53, were apprehended in nationwide raids conducted on Tuesday. Law enforcement authorities raided 19 properties, including residences and asylum shelters.

The Black Axe gang, operating with strict hierarchical structures under Nigerian leadership, exerted significant influence over politics and public administrations in Nigeria. Globally, their operations spanned human trafficking, fraud, money laundering, prostitution, and drug trafficking.

Operating under the guise of the Neo-Black Movement of Africa, ostensibly a charitable organization, the gang used it as a cover for their illicit activities.

This enforcement action against the Black Axe gang marks the first of its kind in Germany, signalling a significant step in combating transnational organized crime.

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