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Police raid premises of popular Berlin dating app

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Police raid premises of popular Berlin dating app
Photo: DPA
15:02 CEST+02:00
Two brothers who run the dating app Lovoo were arrested in Dresden on Wednesday while company offices were also searched.

It sounds like the kind of operation police would plan against suspected terrorists or the mafia. Officers smashed through the doors with a battering ram and were armed with automatic weapons - but they were in fact raiding the premises of a dating app.

Prosecutors had ordered the raid on the Dresden offices of the company, which is headquartered in Berlin, in connection to suspected deception of their customers, Bild reports.

Company founders Björn and Benjamin Bak were also arrested, according to the tabloid.

Prosecutors in Saxony confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that two arrests had been made and that 16 properties had been searched during the operation.

Thirteen of the raids took place in Dresden, three in Berlin, and one in Nuremberg, with officers seizing computers, mobile phones, and company records.

Twelve individuals between the ages of 25 and 38 have been accused of commercial deception.

Prosecutors say the company placed fake profiles onto the dating app to lure in customers.

The company website appeared to be down on Wednesday afternoon, with an error code showing up instead of the homepage. 

“There is an ongoing investigation. We are not commenting on it. Naturally we don't comment on ongoing investigations,” a lawyer for the company told Bild.

In September last year, technology magazine c't reported that Lovoo tricked users by creating fake female profiles to tempt men into giving the company more money.

Although Lovoo provides a free app, users pay for bonuses such as an option called "Top Chat".

Bild reported last year that the fake accounts were used to try and tempt men into handing out cash for these extras.

The tabloid also reports that Lovoo made an extra million euros per year in profit through this ploy.

Lovoo, which claims to have 30 million users in 17 countries, rejected the accusation, claiming that the documents seen by c't were themselves the fakes.

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