German Police Arrest 11 Nigerians In Mafia Group For Dating Fraud, Money Laundering 

No fewer than 11 Nigerians suspected to be members of a mafia group behind a large-scale dating scam and money laundering have been arrested in Germany by the German police. 

The German police said in a statement on Wednesday that the Black Axe gang was involved internationally in “multiple areas of criminal activity” with a focus in Germany on dating scams and money-laundering.

The Bavarian police in the statement said that the dating trick was a “modern form of marriage fraud”, adding that “Using false identities, the fraudsters for example signaled their intention to marry and in the course of further contact repeatedly demand money under various pretexts.” 

The police further said that the money was subsequently transferred to Black Axe in Nigeria “via financial agents.”

According to the authorities, in the process, the gang used a “commodity-based money laundering” scheme where products, often with a seeming “charitable purpose” were bought and delivered to Nigeria.

Police added that 450 cases of dating and love scam were reported in Bavaria region in 2023 with the damages rising to 5.3 million euros ($5.7million).

The police said that the suspects, who all held Nigerian citizenship and were aged between 29 and 53, were arrested in nationwide raids on Tuesday, explaining that law enforcement agents swooped on 19 properties, including both homes and asylum shelters.

The police  added that the Black Axe gang had “strict hierarchical structures under leadership in Nigeria” operating different territorial units, stressing that the group had a “significant influence” on politics and public administrations, in particular in Nigeria.

It was said that globally, the gang’s main areas of operation were “human-trafficking, fraud, money-laundering, prostitution and drug-trafficking”.

The German police said that the action against Black Axe was the first of its kind in Germany. 

Sahara Reporters