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20.07.2005 Diaspora News

Spain detains 295 people in lottery scam

Independent Online

Spanish police have detained 295 West Africans on charges of attempting to swindle money from thousands of people by claiming they had won in a Nigerian lottery, radio reports said on Wednesday.

Most of the suspects detained on Tuesday were Nigerians, while some came from Ghana. Police searched numerous addresses in the southern city of Malaga.

At least two of the detainees were treated in hospital for broken bones after jumping out of a window when trying to escape. Those arrested included owners of shops and call centres as well as a woman who was four months pregnant.

The suspects were believed to have sent letters or emails to people in several countries, claiming they had won a big lottery prize and inviting them to send money to cover tax and document costs. Police said a group of Nigerian confidence men had moved their operations base from Lagos to Malaga.

Spanish police dismantled 31 Nigerian rings last year, detaining more than 100 people.