The UK's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) and the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) have charged three men with conspiracy to defraud UK banks and money laundering.

"One Nigerian and two Romanian men were arrested at a central London hotel on Monday evening on conspiracy to defraud and money laundering charges," writes SC Magazine's Tom Espiner. "The men were taken to a central London police station for questioning. The three men were allegedly involved in an operation that placed over 2,000 phishing pages on the internet, the Met Police said in a statement on Tuesday. The phishing pages mimicked banking sites, and were designed to harvest credentials from unsuspecting users, said the police."

"A large number of accounts were then illegally accessed and had money withdrawn without the holders' knowledge," The London Evening Standard reports. "Officers working in partnership with investigators from the Serious Organised Crime Agency ... also seized a number of computers which are being forensically examined. Further searches are ongoing in London and the Midlands, Scotland Yard said."

"The operation was the first carried out jointly by the Police eCrime Unit (PCeU) and the Serious Organised Crime Unit Cyber wing as the two move towards their merger as the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) on 1 October 2013," writes CSO Online's John E. Dunn. "'The dynamic nature and successful outcome of this operation, which has prevented distress and financial loss to numerous UK victims, clearly demonstrates the benefit of brigading resources and expertise in this increasing and specialist area of criminality,' said PCeU head, Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie."

"The arrests are the latest by UK police targeting those accused of phishing scams, with two citizens jailed earlier this year for a total of almost 10 years," writes's Alastair Stevenson.