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German Police Bust Nigerian Mafia In Romance Scam Crackdown

IN a major crackdown, German police announced the arrest of 11 suspected members of a Nigerian mafia group allegedly involved in a large-scale dating scam. The apprehensions shed light on the Black Axe gang’s international criminal activities, with a focus on romance scams and money laundering.

Bavarian police revealed that the Black Axe gang operated across multiple criminal spheres internationally, with a particular emphasis  on romance scams and money laundering. Describing the dating scam as a ‘modern form of marriage fraud,’ authorities emphasised the gang’s use of false identities to deceive victims.

‘Using false identities, the fraudsters, for example, signalled their intention to marry and repeatedly demand money under various pretexts,’ stated police officials. The money obtained through these scams was subsequently funnelled to the Black Axe gang in Nigeria via financial agents.


The gang employed a sophisticated ‘commodity-based money laundering’ scheme, where goods purchased under the guise of charitable purposes were sent to Nigeria, facilitating the transfer of illicit funds. This operation highlights the gang’s global reach and complex money laundering tactics.

According to police reports, Bavaria alone witnessed 450 cases of romance scamming in 2023, resulting in damages amounting to 5.3 million euros ($5.7 million). The suspects, all Nigerian citizens aged between 29 and 53, were apprehended in nationwide raids on Tuesday, targeting 19 properties, including residences and asylum shelters.

Authorities revealed that the Black Axe gang operated with strict hierarchical structures under Nigerian leadership, exerting significant influence on politics and public administrations, particularly in Nigeria. Globally, the gang’s criminal activities spanned human trafficking, fraud, money laundering, prostitution, and drug trafficking.

Operating under the guise of the Neo Black Movement of Africa, an ostensibly charitable organisation, the Black Axe gang used it as a front to conceal its illicit activities. This coordinated action marks the first significant crackdown on the Black Axe gang in Germany, underscoring law enforcement’s commitment to combating international organised crime.

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