A gang of Chinese fraudsters stole $18.6 million (Rs 130 crore) from the Indian arm of Italian company Tecnimont SpA

[ JAN 10, 2019 ]

A gang of Chinese fraudsters stole $18.6 million (Rs 130 crore) from
the Indian arm of Italian company Tecnimont SpA by convincing
local managers that the money was needed for an acquisition, in what
could be one of the biggest cyber heists in the country.The hackers
sent emails to the head of Tecnimont Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of
Milan-headquartered Tecnimont SpA, through an email account that
looked deceptively similar to that of group CEO Pierroberto Folgiero,
according to a police complaint, which ET has seen.
The hackers then arranged a series of conference calls to discuss a
possible “secretive” and “highly confidential” acquisition in China.
Several people played various roles during these calls, pretending to
be the group CEO, a top Switzerland-based lawyer and other senior
executives of the company, according to the complaint submitted by
Tecnimont Pvt Ltd to the Mumbai Police’s cybercrime unit.
The money that was transferred — $5.6 million, $9.4 million and
$3.6 million — from India to the banks in Hong Kong was withdrawn
within minutes. The fraudsters tried for a fourth transfer, but by then
the fraud had been discovered. It came to light when Tecnimont SpA
chairman Franco Ghiringhelli visited India in December.
The bank accounts into which the money was transferred were
opened using fake documents. This was discovered when the forensic
investigators contacted the banks in Hong Kong, said people aware of
the matter.
Six entities have been named in the police complaint. They include
companies supposedly based in Hong Kong, in Taizhou, China, and
unknown email account holders who first contacted the India head.
Also named in the complaint is Luigi Corradi.


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