Eight Kenyans have been arrested in Seychelles as part of investigations into a cryptocurrency scam involving an international crime ring that targeted one of the island county’s largest lenders; Nouvabanq.
Police are yet to release the names of the eight Kenyans but sauce.co.ke understands that at least 11 people including three Sycheollis have been arrested so far in the capital Victoria.
It is still not yet known how much money Nouvabanq could have lost in the scam and whether customers’ accounts were affected.
According to a press communique from Nouvobanq, the ongoing investigation is being conducted by the bank, the Financial Crime Investigation Unit within the Seychelles Police Force and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
The bank said it has been able to detect those transactions and alerted the relevant authorities.
“Nouvobanq would like to reassure all its esteemed customers that no customer account was directly affected at any time, therefore no money has been deducted from any customer’s account as part of the scam. Contrary to some reports being circulated on social media, the bank categorically denounces the involvement of its staff in this.”
Nouvobanq is one of the largest commercial banks in Seychelles, founded in 1991, in a joint venture between the Seychelles Government and the Standard Chartered Bank.
The bank has reiterated its commitment to delivering a good service to its customers and continues to adhere to governance structures which include the detection and prevention of fraudulent activities.
“In light of this recent fraud event, and noting that there is an absolute need for extra precautions, the bank has put in place additional necessary measures and controls to avoid a recurrence of a similar situation,” it added.
Due to the ongoing investigation, Nouvobanq said it cannot divulge a lot of information on how exactly the fraud took place. However, the bank explained the logistics behind why it was a fraud.
“A fraud is when you receive money illegally or you do illegal transactions and you use money that is not yours,” said the bank.
The bank however said that there is a possibility that the criminals had access to their clients’ debit or credit card details which they used to purchase cryptocurrency online.
“We do not know what type of cryptocurrency is currently involved,” said the bank.
“Attempts at fraud happen constantly and the majority is dealt with early. We can block certain transactions to prevent it from happening and we have blocked usage of purchasing digital currency on some of the crypto sites,” said the bank.
Nouvobanq has a zero cryptocurrency policy and does not accept any purchases or transactions regarding crypto. Additionally, Sychelles has no laws or regulations on how to manage cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile, Nouvobanq said it will be reinforcing its control, way of monitoring, compliance, and safety measures to ensure such incident is not repeated.