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Online fraudsters steal nearly $5 million from Ryanair via Chinese bank

Wed 29 Apr 2015

Budget airline Ryanair has been the victim of criminal scammers in an attack which saw ‘less than $5 million’ transferred fraudulently to a Chinese bank, the Irish Times revealed yesterday.

In a statement given to the paper, the airline stated:

“Ryanair confirms that it has investigated a fraudulent electronic transfer via a Chinese bank last week…The airline has been working with its banks and the relevant authorities and understands that the funds – less than $5 million – have now been frozen…The airline expects these funds to be repaid shortly, and has taken steps to ensure that this type of transfer cannot recur,

“As this matter is subject to legal proceedings, no further comment will be made,”

No further details regarding how the scam functioned have been made available yet, but the Irish Times says that Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is believed to have worked closely with sister agencies in Asia to attempt to re-secure the stolen funds, which are believed to have been taken from dollar-based accounts used by the Dublin-based company to purchase aviation fuel.

The airline has previously been criticised for lax online security regarding its ticket purchasing systems, which were thought by several hackers to be relatively easy to commit fraud on. Two years prior to that event Ryanair staff controversially baited a blogger who claimed to have found exploitable flaws in the online purchasing service, resulting in an acerbic comment fairly typical of the outspoken company, from spokesman Stephen McNamara: “Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves, as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel,”

The airline announced plans to launch trans-Atlantic flight services for as little as £10 in March, only to publicly withdraw these intentions five days later, and continues to fight a negative PR battle over customer service which only Uber can exceed for audacity and predictability.

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