Call center case: 24 Georgians arrested in Kazakhstan on fraud charges
The call center case
Twenty-four Georgians have been arrested in Kazakhstan on charges of fraud, according to Zhandos Suyunbai, head of the Center for Combating Cybercrime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan.
“In Almaty, the department for combating cybercrime in the course of operations revealed a call center for internet fraud. Twenty-four citizens of the Republic of Georgia were detained,” Suyunbi said.
According to Kazakh media reports, phone calls on behalf of a bank or law enforcement officer are one of the most common forms of fraud in the country. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, since the beginning of this year mobile operators have blocked 15 million fraudulent calls, with about 400 such crimes having been perpetrated.
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On April 12, the British media BBC published a journalistic investigation, according to which the former Georgian Defense Minister David Kezerashvili may be connected to a global fraudulent network that has earned more than a billion dollars by deceiving European citizens.
The fraudulent network is known to the police as the Milton Group. According to the BBC, over 152 brands have been identified as participating in this network.
BBC journalists tracked down who is behind this network. Five people have been named, four of them have Georgian surnames and are likely Georgian citizens. These are: David Todua, Rati Chelidze, Guram Gogeshvili, Iosif Mgeladze and Mikhail Benimini. The BBC writes that these names and surnames appeared in the Panama Papers and are associated with David Kezerashvili.
The BBC says it cannot document Kezerashvili’s connection to this fraudulent network. Also, investigative journalists were unable to find concrete evidence that Kezerashvili has a financial interest in Milton Group brands.
However, journalists also mention other important details that, in their opinion, may indicate Kezerashvili’s connection with this case.
“Many traces lead to one figure: David Kezerashvili, a former high-ranking Georgian government official who served as the country’s defense minister for two years,” the investigation reads.