Irish Police on Tuesday said they had questioned a suspect linked to a scam involving non-existent face masks valued at 15 million euros (or 16.4 million dollars) ordered by German state of North Rhine Westphalia.
The police said detectives interviewed the man and examined his electronic devices as part of an investigation into the scam by German, Irish and Dutch financial crime units.
The police added that he was linked to suspected laundering of 1.5 million euros related to the scam.
Earlier, prosecutors in the Southern German town of Traunstein said that the state of North Rhine Westphalia had contracted two unnamed distribution companies based in Hamburg and Zurich to source and deliver 10 million masks.
The prosecutors said that the companies made a down payment of around 2.4 million euros to a third-party delivery company for the masks.
According to them, when the masks failed to arrive, the Head of the German companies filed a complaint leading to the recovery of 15 million euros.
The Irish police said the German contractors had approached a Dutch supplier through an Irish intermediary. But the order was placed with a fraudulent Dutch entity that had cloned the website and email address of the supplier.
The police said that the German contractors paid 1.5 million euros to the Irish company for the first shipment of 7.7 million masks, and 880,000 euros to the fake Dutch company.
They added that another payment of 498,000 euros was intercepted having being transferred to a Nigerian bank account through Britain.