The arrest of the gang's leader was the result of a complex investigation conducted by the Spanish National Police, Europol, the FBI, as well as authorities and private cybersecurity companies from Romania, Belarus and Taiwan, Europol said.
"The arrest of the key figure in this crime group illustrates that cybercriminals can no longer hide behind perceived international anonymity. This is another example where the close cooperation between law enforcement agencies on a worldwide scale and trusted private sector partners is having a major impact on top-level cyber criminality," head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) Steven Wilson said, commenting on the arrest.
The cybercrime group has been attacking banks, electronic payment systems and financial institutions with its malware — known as Anunak, Carbanak and Cobalt — since 2013. The cumulative losses from their activities in more than 40 countries exceeded 1 billion euros ($1.24 billion).
The criminals laundered their proceeds via cryptocurrencies, linking prepaid cards to cryptocurrency wallets used to buy luxury goods, Europol added.