Case Law Database


Acts against the Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of Computer, Data and Systems

• Breach of privacy/data protection measures
• Interception of computer data

Computer-related acts for personal or financial gain

• Fraud
• Forgery

Operation Imperium

Fact Summary

Bulgarian and Spanish law enforcement and judicial agencies together with Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) successfully carried out a joint operation that culminated in the arrest of 31 members of an organized criminal group for ATM skimming, electronic payment fraud, forgery of documents and other crimes.

The suspects obtained credit card information from ATMs by using skimming devices and by intercepting POS terminals in several European countries. After obtaining such information, they encoded it in plastic cards that were used to withdraw cash from ATMs outside of the European Union.

The operation involved 40 house searches and took place simultaneously in Bulgaria (Sofia, Burgas and Silistra) and Spain (Malaga). Law enforcement discovered eight criminal labs used to produce skimming devices and forge documents and seized more than 1000 devices, micro camera bars, card readers, magnetic strip readers and writers, computers, phones, flash drives, plastic cards ready to be encoded, 3D printers and forged credit cards.

Commentary and Significant Features

Europol played a crucial role in assisting Bulgarian and Spanish authorities in this operation. EC3 supported law enforcement by providing their assistance with mobile offices and using Europol’s databases for information exchange. Europol’s Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) supported the operation from the Hague and made possible the simultaneous arrest of the suspects.

Cross-Cutting Issues


... for

• completed offence

... based on

• criminal intention

... as involves

• principal offender(s)
• participant, facilitator, accessory



• involved an organized criminal group (Article 2(a) CTOC)
• occurred across one (or more) international borders (transnationally)

Involved Countries



Investigation Procedure

Involved Agencies

• Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3)
• Europol’s Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT)
• Spanish law enforcement and judicial authorities
• Bulgarian law enforcement and judicial authorities

Computer specific investigative measures

• Seizure/Confiscation of hardware and/or software

International Cooperation


• International law enforcement cooperation (including INTERPOL)

Electronic Evidence

• Electronic Evidence/Digital Evidence

Sources / Citations