Bosnian police detained 84 people in an operation against an organized crime group, codenamed “Launderer“. Victims from several European countries lost at least US$3.1 million, and the budget of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was damaged for more than US$300,000 through an elaborate stock fraud scheme.
The BiH Federal Police said Wednesday at a press conference that the operation was conducted two days ago in Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Bihac.
The chief of the police’s organized crime department Edin Vranj told the press that the dismantled group organized at least 160 people to defraud victims into buying worthless stocks on the German market. Victims never saw any profit.
Vranj explained that the group had a clear hierarchy, and defined roles for all members. He added that the suspects had to be aware that they were committing a crime, because they misidentified themselves in phone calls to the victims, and spoke in German to appear as German citizens.
The group was equipped with high-tech equipment that enabled them to cover their tracks, encrypt data and hide IP addresses – equipment worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars, Vranj added. As this equipment enabled criminals to destroy incriminating data in just a few seconds, police obtained permission to forcibly raid Dunmorr premises.
Leaders have not yet been arrested. The police are looking for two brothers, Goran and Zoran Samardzija, and Zeljko Nikolic. Interpol has joined the efforts to capture them.
As the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) found, Goran is the majority holder in Dunmorr, and his brother Zoran Samardzija is the company's board president. Zeljko Nikolic served as a Dunmorr representative in Bosnia. Dunmorr registered its Bosnian branch last year, as a market and public opinion research company.