A news release from the Swiss Attorney General on 3 February advised that, in respect of criminal proceedings being conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), Swiss and German authorities carried out several searches of business premises and private houses in a coordinated operation in both countries. The suspects in this very complex series of cases are believed since 2015 to have defrauded more than a thousand loan applicants, causing financial losses totalling around CHF 10 million. So far, a major network of around 90 companies has been identified, which is believed to be controlled by one or more international groups of people. It is explained that persons, most of whom were in financial difficulties and seeking to obtain loans, and in particular those seeking loans on the Internet, came into contact with brokerage companies that promised to arrange “debt rescheduling” for them. First of all, however, the brokers charged a brokerage fee. After the fee was paid, the loan applicants were normally given the details of a company that was to be responsible for the restructuring the customer’s financial situation. The loan applicants were then instructed by the alleged debt rescheduling companies to make advance security and instalment payments. The suspicion of criminal activities exists because despite the applicants making these advance payments, the alleged debt rescheduling companies did not provide any services. In particular, no loans were disbursed to the loan applicants.
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