A worldwide gang of criminals stole £29m in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of pre-paid debit cards then draining cash machines around the world, US prosecutors said.
Authorities described the gang as a “virtual criminal flash mob”.
Seven people are under arrest in the US in connection with the case, which involved thousands of thefts from ATMs using bogus magnetic swipe cards carrying information from Middle Eastern banks.
The fraudsters moved with astounding speed to loot financial institutions around the world, working in cells including one in New York. Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch called it “a massive 21st-century bank heist”.
One suspect was caught on CCTV, his backpack increasingly loaded down with cash. Others took photos of themselves with giant wads of notes.