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Russian authorities detain suspected bank carding kingpin

$660,000 gone in 6 months

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Russian authorities have detained a Ukrainian citizen accused of overseeing a criminal operation that used fraudulent credit cards and passports to siphon large amounts of cash out of banks around the world.

The detention of the unnamed suspect came as Department K of the Russian Interior Ministry stopped the actions of the international criminal group the Ukrainian allegedly led, according to a press release (Google translation here) issued on Monday. The group, which was made up of at least 50 members, siphoned more than $660,000 out of 17 Russian banks between January and June alone.

Russian authorities also confiscated more than 100 counterfeit credit cards and an encoder used to write data to cards' magnetic stripe.

The action comes as authorities in Ukraine, the US, and UK last week rounded up dozens of people suspected of participating in bank fraud related to Zeus, a prolific computer trojan that specializes in stealing banking credentials of its victims. Most of those arrested were accused of being money mules who used fraudulent passports to launder money stolen from compromised accounts. Five of those detained in Ukraine were accused of orchestrating the overarching scheme.

Russian authorities didn't say if those detained were related to the same crime ring, but the activities they're accused of sound remarkably similar. Some of the Russian suspects are accused of using fake passports to mislead bank employees. ®

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