One of Europe’s Biggest Companies Loses €40 Million in Online Scam

August 31, 2016

Leoni AG, Europe’s biggest manufacturer of wires and electrical cables and the fourth-largest vendor in the world, has announced it lost €40 million ($44.6 million) following an online scam that tricked one of its financial officers into transferring funds to the wrong bank account.

The incident took place on Friday, August 12, and the company announced it publicly on August 16, when its shares dropped between 5 and 7 percent in the stock market following the news.

Back in August, Leoni officials were scarce in details, only saying they launched an investigation into the matter, also reassuring investors that the company’s liquidity situation had not been affected by the sudden disappearance of €40 million from its bank accounts.

BEC scam targeted Leoni’s Romanian headquarters

New details are now surfacing about the incident in the Romanian press, who revealed yesterday that the scam took place at Leoni’s factory in the city of Bistrita, in northern Romania.

Leoni’s Romanian staff filed a complaint with local police, and because of the huge sum of money lost in the incident, the case reached Romania’s top investigations division DIICOT (Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism).

According to authorities, a young woman working as CFO at Leoni’s Bistrita factory was the target of the scam, when she received an email spoofed to look like it came from one of the company’s top German executives.

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