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German police raid money-laundering gangs, bikers

Police in the western German state of North Rhine-Wesphalia have carried out two large anti-crime operations. One targeted money-laundering gangs, the other, local biker gangs in a case of attempted murder.

German police carried out raids on Tuesday in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in one operation targeting international money-laundering gangs and another focused on a local biker group.

A number of sites suspected of connection to money laundering were searched, state prosecutors in the western German city of Duisburg confirmed to DW.

The raids took place as part of an international operation. The European Union’s police agency, Europol, was also involved; several arrest warrants had been executed in NRW. More written details were set for publication later on Tuesday.

International operation

Raids were also carried out in Italy, Switzerland and the southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, German news agency DPA reported, with Italian financial police saying they had arrested 22 people and confiscated some €41 million ($46 million) in real estate, cryptocurrencies and on bank accounts.

Italian justice authorities accuse the gangs of having formed fake companies that claimed to have carried out energy-saving renovations on houses without this ever happening. German companies are suspected of being involved by paying these companies for services they never provided to bolster their credibility.

The gangs are suspected of having raked in more than €27 million through certificates.

Investigation of attempted murder

In the other set of raids in NRW, more than 250 officers searched properties belonging to a rocker group in Cologne and the nearby town of Pulheim.

Police said the raids were carried out as part of an investigation into attempted murder launched after a former Hells Angels member was shot at in Cologne at the end of October. They said the investigation targeted 15 men aged 23 to 51, all members of a local Hells Angels group.

The searches were carried out to find evidence and find the weapon used in the shooting.

No one was injured during the attack on the 31-year-old, but one of the three bullets fired pierced the blinds of an apartment belonging to someone unconnected with the incident, police said.

The Hells Angels have often been implicated in a variety of violent crimes in Germany.

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