178 held in swoops on Spain based crime gang

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Police have arrested 178 people in 12 countries in swoops on those suspected of forming part of an international crime gang with a large base in Spain, the Interior Ministry said today.

Co-ordinated raids took place in France, Italy, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Romania, Australia, Sweden, Greece, Finland and Hungary, as well as Spain, the ministry said in a statement.

Investigations began two years ago in Spain and have uncovered an international crime organisation involved in credit card fraud, robbery with violence, extortion, sexual exploitation and money laundering.

The gang is believed to have made more than 20 million euros (£16.6 million) from illegal activities and police uncovered 11 fraud laboratories during 84 raids.