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Eight held over £1.3m bank theft
Eight men have been arrested in connection with a £1.3 million theft by a gang who took control of a bank branch computer system.
The men, who are aged between 24 and 47, have been arrested in connection with an allegation of conspiracy to steal from Barclays Bank, and conspiracy to defraud UK banks. They are in custody in London police stations.
Cash, jewellery, drugs, thousands of credit cards and personal data have been seized in searches at addresses in Westminster, Newham, Camden, Brent and Essex.
Detectives described one of the addresses in central London as the fraudsters' control centre.
A search of the Barclays Bank branch in Swiss Cottage, north London, where £1.3 million was stolen in April, unearthed a ''keyboard video mouse'' (KVM) switch attached to a 3G router to one of the computers. A KVM switch would allow the fraudsters to transmit desktop content.
It is alleged one of the plotters posed as an engineer, saying he was there to fix computers.
The KVM could allow someone to control a number of computers. It is believed the gang could have been using the gadget to transfer money remotely into different bank accounts.
Metropolitan Police detective inspector Mark Raymond said: "Those responsible for this offence are significant players within a sophisticated and determined organised criminal network, who used considerable technical abilities and traditional criminal know-how to infiltrate and exploit secure banking systems."
The arrests are the latest in a series of cyber crimes targeting banks in an attempt to steal millions of pounds. A gang is alleged to have tried to use the KVM gadget to take control of all the computers at a branch of Santander in Surrey Quays shopping centre in south east London. The attempt failed and the Spanish bank said they were unable to steal any money.
Four men - Lanre Mullins-Abudu, 25, from Putney, south west London; Dean Outram, 34, from north west London; Akash Vaghela, 27, from Hounslow, west London; and Asad Ali Qureshi, 35, from south west London - are to appear on conspiracy to steal charges at London's Southwark Crown Court on September 27. Eight other people have been bailed to a date in mid-November pending further inquiries.