An international operation successfully dismantled an organised crime group, suspect of money laundering and illegally trading gold. Italy's Guardia di Finanza (Bologna) led the operation. The Guardia di Finanza handles all areas of financial crime. Europol supported the case with codename Pietra Filosofale.
House searches were carried out on 12 December in the Italian regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.
Ten members of the targeted organised crime group were arrested. During the operation, the Guardia di Finanza seized EUR 260 000. There are four arrest warrants for criminals in Romania and Turkey. The members of the organised crime group came from China, Italy, Romania and Turkey. In addition, the Judge for Preliminary the Investigations in Bologna ordered to freeze EUR 7.4 million in assets.
The aim of the operation was to dismantle the group, which was active in international money laundering. The Guardia di Finanza had been collecting evidence against the group for two years. The investigation led to the seizure of over 70 kg of gold (valued at EUR 2.5 million) and EUR 1.5 million in cash. The main target, a 50-year-old Turkish national collected cash from Chinese businesspeople to commit tax evasion. He invested the collected cash and bought gold, which he traded on the legal gold market. He then transferred the profits to bank accounts in Romania and Turkey, and eventually to bank accounts in the UK owned by the Chinese criminals who led the crime group.
International cooperation via Italy’s Guardia di Finanza and Europol played a crucial role in this complex case. Europol facilitated the rapid exchange of information and provided investigators with qualified support.