Alleged leader of loan scam under arrest

An Italian national accused of running a 60-million-euro fraudulent money-lending operation in more than six countries across Europe was arrested in Athens yesterday, police said. The suspect, 41-year-old Maurizio Espozito, is accused of luring businessmen through newspaper advertisements by offering to help them borrow up to 800,000 euros from banks, even if they had tarnished credit ratings. The Brussels-based company would promise to push troubled bank loan applications for a prearranged fee. Police said that the operation has been running along with 10 other partners since 2003 in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany and Greece. Belgian authorities had issued a Europe-wide warrant for his arrest. More than 100 people are believed to have fallen into the trap.

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