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Malta link in FSA boiler room arrests

The anti-money laundering unit of the Malta Police, along with a number of UK and European law enforcement bodies, was involved in an investigation that led to the arrest in the UK on Wednesday of sev

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The anti-money laundering unit of the Malta Police, along with a number of UK and European law enforcement bodies, was involved in an investigation that led to the arrest in the UK on Wednesday of seven people for suspected involvement in a major ‘boiler room’ scam, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said.

The FSA said the investigation focused on share fraud and boiler room activity in the United Kingdom and Europe that had taken approximately £28m from would-be investors.

A major search operation of “a number of premises” in Surrey, West Sussex, London and Hertfordshire also took place.

The seven arrests were made in the south of England. One of the suspects was a woman, but no further details about the individuals or where they were from were given.

Boiler-room scams typically involve the cold-calling of unsophisticated investors with offers to buy shares in companies that turn out to be worthless, or worth much less than advertised. In spite of efforts by the FSA and others to educate consumers about the practice, people continue to be persuaded to part with their money over the phone in this way.

Warning to investors
In announcing the arrests, the FSA reminded UK consumers “to hang up on any unsolicited cold calls from parties attempting to sell shares”, and reminded those interested in more information to visit its Moneymadeclear website, www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk, which features an online reporting form for those who believe they have been share scam victims.
An FSA consumer contact number 0300 500 5000, while the City of London police website (www.cityoflondonpolice.uk) also features information on the subject.

The FSA said it had conducted the investigation that led to yesterday’s arrests and search operations in close co-operation with the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate, along with assistance from Hertfordshire Constabulary Fraud Squad, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Fraud Prosecution Service and Eurojust and Europol.

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