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Algeria arrests network operating secret branch of Lithuania bank  

February 27, 2023 at 12:17 pm

Algerian flags. [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty Images]

Algerian security services yesterday announced the arrest of a network which operated a branch of the Lithuanian Bank of Paysera on its territory without obtaining a licence.

Algerian National Security said in a statement that members of a criminal network had secretly established a branch of an unaccredited foreign bank in Algeria which is based in Lithuania, indicating that they were arrested after a year of in-depth investigations carried out by the Central Department for Combating Organised Crime of the General Directorate of National Security.

After the suspects were referred to the department specialised in financial and economic crimes at the Sidi M’hamed Court of Algiers, it was decided to place five people in temporary detention on charges of violating the legislation and regulation of money exchange and the movement of capital to and from abroad, and not obtaining the licences required by the public authorities.

Police released the defendants’ confessions and their explanation of how  they set up a call centre to disguise the financial activity of Paysera Bank, and transferred capital to and from abroad, as well as used the branch for money laundering using forged invoices.

According to the defendants, the manager of Paysera has personally visited Algeria and agreed with the office to carry out the activity in the name of the bank without disclosing it to the Algerian authorities.

Since that visit, online recruitment has begun for a number of administrators and protection engineers for the hidden branch in Algeria.

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