By Halil Demir
ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkish and German police launched on Wednesday joint operations against telecom scammers illegally swindling money from elderly people in Germany, a judicial source said.
The group of 76 scammers includes Turkish, German, Albanian, Polish and Brazilian nationals, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking with the media.
The defrauders allegedly carry out their unlawful activities through a call center set up in Turkey.
Prosecutors in Istanbul issued arrest warrants for 36 people, including five Germans, for obtaining €3 million ($3.27 million) from 20 people. They introduced themselves as police and prosecutors on the phone, the source added.
The suspected head of the group, who is identified by his initials F.O., established a company in Germany and brought the cash to Turkey by land and air, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, the federal investigative agency of Germany.
While Turkey's financial crimes police launched search operations against 36 suspects in Istanbul, Antalya and Mugla, police in Germany started the manhunt for 40 suspects: 21 Germans, 15 Turkish, two Brazilians and one Polish and Albanian each.
The source said that a number of suspects were rounded up while the search for the remaining continues.