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German living in Cambodia charged with fraud

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German living in Cambodia charged with fraud

A German court has charged a man with fraud for allegedly siphoning more than $2 million from private bank accounts while living in Cambodia.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, a prosecutor in Stuttgart and the Baden-Württemberg State Office of Criminal Investigation said the suspect, a German national, was arrested last April while returning from Cambodia to Munich. According to the statement, he had been conducting the fraud since February 2016. Due to German privacy laws, the document does not identify the alleged perpetrator. It also does not clarify when charges were filed.

He was accused of calling banks in Southern Germany pretending to be an account holder, and managed to gain access to others' accounts. In all, authorities said he made more than 500 fraudulent transactions.

To "hide the origin of the money", he is then said to have transferred cash to other agents and to have bought expensive products that he then sold off.

In connection to the case, police searched the apartments of eight people suspected of being involved in six states in Germany. They are believed to belong to an international ring of money launderers, according to the statement.

Ulrich Heffner, a spokesman for the criminal investigation office, said none of the eight had been arrested and further investigation was needed to determine whether they were victims or complicit in the fraud.

“Did they intentionally trade with these products or were they subject to a scam? Sometimes you get emails promising to earn $2,000 quickly, so we need to see whether this was the case here,” he said.

Heffner said there was no cooperation between German and Cambodian authorities and that a German liaison officer based in the region had worked on the case. He declined to identify the banks that had been subject to fraud.

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