A money laundering ring that functioned as a criminals' banking system has been uncovered by Spanish and German police.

In an operation coordinated by Europol, the police targeted the laundering system, which is believed to have handled hundreds of millions of euros' worth of drug money.

Spanish police in Malaga arrested three Germans who are suspected of running the laundering ring. The authorities believe that the head of the ring would charge commissions of up to 5% for every million euros it handled. It was estimated to be making a daily profit of more than 250,000 euros.

The operation was carried out at the end of March. But details have only just been made public due to what Europol called operational considerations.

In a statement announcing it, Europol said: "All three suspects have been on the run from the German authorities since 2021. The criminal organisation's ringleader — a German national of Russian origin — features among those arrested."

The breaking up of such a large, organised crime group in central Europe will be rightfully hailed as a massive success for the agency in its continued fight against financial crime. It is also testimony to the effectiveness of a law enforcement agency made up of 27 member states of the European Union – and the cross-border cooperation involved in its work.

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