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India unit of Italian firm 'loses S$25m through cyber fraud'

Mumbai

A GROUP of Chinese hackers robbed 1.3 billion rupees (S$24.9 million) from the Indian unit of Tecnimont through an elaborate cyber fraud that included impersonating the Italian engineering firm's chief executive, The Economic Times has reported.

The scammers sent emails to the India head of Tecnimont, part of the publicly traded Maire Tecnimont, from an account that looked similar to one used by the Italian group's chief executive and organised conference calls to discuss a "confidential" acquisition in China, the Indian daily newspaper reported, citing a complaint made with the police.

The hackers then convinced the India chief to transfer the money for the acquisition in three tranches from India to banks in Hong Kong, saying the amount could not be moved from Italy due to regulatory issues.

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During the conference calls, various people in the hacking group pretended to be the CEO, senior executives of Tecnimont and a top lawyer based in Switzerland.

Tecnimont has reportedly launched a forensic probe into the fraud and has hired legal and security firms to look into the matter. The company did not immediately respond to emailed queries from Reuters.

The Economic Times reported that the company has since fired its India chief and the head of accounts and finance. REUTERS