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February 26, 2015

‘Cybercriminals wanted by FBI made Rs200mn’

Karachi

February 26, 2015

Karachi
The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) provincial director, Shahid Hayat, on Wednesday presented details regarding the operations of a notorious cybercrime network, headed by the FBI and Interpol-wanted Noor Azizuddin, which was evidently busted just over a week ago.
The key allegations against the three accused – Noor, his brother Faisal Azizuddin and his nephew Farhan Arshad – relate to massive global telecom fraud. “The trio is accused of causing losses of approximately Rs32 million to local mobile network operator, Warid Telecom, from September 2011 to August 2014,” said Hayat.
The operation was largely based upon manipulation of the network’s Premium Rate Services (PRS) – which include entertainment portals – as the accused struck deals with foreign-based cybercriminals to generate illegal traffic for the services.
The latter part, according to the FIA chief, was done by gaining access to the network’s main cellular system and placing illegal calls that allowed for unauthorised usage of Warid’s airtime.
“For this, they received payments in their multiple bank accounts from clients in countries including Philippines, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, India, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Spain, Singapore and Italy,” said Hayat.
Noor and Farhan, both part of the FBI and Interpol’s list of most wanted cybercriminals, had also been involved in a telecom fraud scheme in Saudi Arabia. “Around three years ago, they worked together in Saudi Arabia and hacked the PBX system of US-based telecom giant, AT&T, to generate traffic on PRS numbers. The loss estimation for AT&T was around $603,045,” said the FIA chief.

Sufficient evidence
Hayat disclosed that, on a complaint by Warid Telecom, the FIA Cyber Crime Circle Karachi has lodged an FIR – under section 36/37 of the ETO 2002, read with 3/4 of AML Act 2010 and sections 406/419/420/109/34 of the PPC – against the three men, all of whom are residents of

Federal B Area.
He said that along with the computers, tablets, mobiles and cheque books seized from their houses, Noor had also voluntarily provided his e-mail credentials and multiple incriminating exchanges had been found.
“We have all the proof we need. The emails and other information we have retrieved show that Noor has earned approximately Rs200 million over the course of his operations,” said Hayat.
“The emails revealed that he also has bank accounts abroad and we are making efforts to access these and also to track down his accomplices there. This is an international investigation which has around 11 countries working together so it may take a while for the complete details to surface.”
Hayat added that, between them, the trio and their accomplices have over 50 bank accounts.
“As for properties, Noor has 46 plots in Bahria Town Karachi, two in Saharanpur Society in Malir and one at Port Qasim. Other than that, we know he has invested approximately Rs40 million in various ventures.”