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Three men who worked for the same London financial institution have been arrested in an investigation into fraudulent coronavirus rebound loans totaling £ 6million.

City workers are believed to have used their “expert knowledge” to carry out the scam, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Two of the suspects, aged 30 and 31, were arrested at their desks by members of the NCA’s Complex Financial Crime team, while the third, aged 30, was arrested at an address in Camden.

Gary Cathcart, Head of Financial Investigations at NCA, said: “Ensuring the integrity of the financial sector is an essential part of our work to combat illicit financing.

“Professional facilitators who use their specialized knowledge to facilitate criminal activity pose a significant threat, and the NCA will continue to work closely with our partners to target anyone involved in fraud. ”

The government’s rebound loan program was introduced in May to allow small and medium-sized businesses to quickly access low-interest financing.

Businesses can borrow between £ 2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover up to a maximum of £ 50,000.

Under the terms, the government guarantees 100 percent of the loan and there is no charge or interest for the first 12 months, followed by an interest rate of 2.5 percent per annum thereafter. .

The NCA said the false claims of £ 6million were allegedly made through the use of false data and documents.

The three suspects have been released as investigations into the extent of the fraud and the involvement of others continue.

Last summer, the Fraud Advisory Panel, Spotlight on Corruption and Transparency International wrote a joint letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging the Treasury to release the names of all recipients of the coronavirus loans.

At the time, a Treasury spokesperson said the government expects everyone “to act responsibly and in the spirit of the package, and only claim and use support as intended.” “.

Additional reporting by PA Media.

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