Europol supports Spanish authorities in taking down Europe’s biggest narco bank

October 16, 2022

With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) and Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria) have dismantled an organised crime group believed to be running Europe’s biggest ‘narco-bank’.

Composed mainly of Syrian nationals, the criminal network running this ‘bank’ provided financial services to criminal organisations linked to drug trafficking in more than twenty countries. Active since 2020, this criminal gang is believed to have laundered over EUR 300 million per year.

On 27 September, over 200 law enforcement officers raided a total of 21 locations in the Spanish provinces of Málaga and Toledo, resulting in 32 arrests and the seizure of almost EUR 3 million of criminal assets.

Details of the seizures:

  • EUR 428 205 in cash
  • 19 cryptocurrency accounts worth EUR 1.5 million
  • 11 luxury vehicles
  • 70 kilos of hashish, 1.2 tonnes of marijuana and a plantation with 995 marijuana plants
  • These seizures follow that of EUR 2.9 million in cash made over the course of the investigation.

Organised crime groups could make payments, receive funds and even have their proceeds laundered by this internationally structured financial network.

The Spanish city of Fuenlabrada appeared to be the centre of the underground bank. The criminals ran their money laundering activities from a local restaurant where their customers would come to deposit or collect bulk cash.

The hawala informal money transfer system was the main money laundering typology used to avoid law enforcement detection.

Europol’s support was central in the development of the Spanish investigation. Since May 2020, Europol has been providing continuous intelligence development and analysis to map out the international activity of this criminal network. Two experts from its European Financial and Economic Crime Centre were also deployed to Madrid to assist the Spanish investigation with the cross-checking of operational information during the action day.

This investigation was financially supported by the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).


Related Articles

Belgium becomes football world champion, at least digitally

> The big digital check for the World Cup by nexum AG> Germany in 3rd place behind the Netherlands, but ahead of England, France and Spain In the next four weeks, the sporting world champion will be determined among the best football teams. But already today a winner...

Every fifth German open to e-prescription

Every fifth German open to e-prescription

Seniors over 65, however, are in favour of the completely analogue or predominantly analogue variantOne in five Germans would want to redeem a doctor's prescription exclusively digitally in future. Another 21 per cent would choose the digital option for the most part....

Stupid pupils cost the economy around 700 billion euros

Stupid pupils cost the economy around 700 billion euros

According to the ifo study, two-thirds of young people globally do not achieve basic skills Two-thirds of young people worldwide do not achieve basic skills that should be taught in school. This is according to a new study by the Ifo Institute ( In...