Large skimming network dismantled

Eurojust and Europol played an important role in the dismantling of a large international skimming network involving nine European Union Member States.

On 19 November 2008, 15 persons suspected of being part of a skimming network were arrested throughout Europe: 7 in Belgium, 6 in Romania and 2 in Spain. The international operation was directed from Belgium by the Federal Prosecution Office in Brussels, in cooperation with the Prosecution Office, the Investigating Magistrate and the Federal Police of Dendermonde, Belgium, and with the support of Europol and Eurojust.

A total of 34 house searches took place: 9 in Belgium, 20 in Romania, 2 in Spain, 1 in Germany and 2 in Ireland/United Kingdom. The criminal offences were committed in Romania, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Cyprus. Outside the European Union offences were committed in Turkey, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, and Morocco.

The investigations and prosecutions took place in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. As a coordinated approach in both EU and non-EU countries was needed, the Belgian authorities referred the case to Eurojust and Europol in August 2008.

Several coordination meetings took place at both institutions in The Hague between September and November 2008. Police officers, judges and prosecutors from the Member States concerned were either present or participated in the meetings through videoconferencing.


In this case, “skimming” crimes took place where the perpetrator places a device over the card slot of an automatic cash distribution machine, which reads the magnetic strip as the users pass their cards through it. These devices are often used in conjunction with a pinhole camera to read the users PIN code at the same time.

For further questions, please contact:

EUROJUST: Mr Joannes Thuy, Press Officer and Spokesperson +31 70 412 5508 –

EUROPOL: Mr Soren Kragh Pedersen, Chief of Media/PR Office +31 70 302 5118 –