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14 Jun, 2008 13:47

Russian mafia suspects await charges

Four of twenty suspected Russian mafia members arrested on Friday will remain in Spanish custody after questioning, according to the El Mundo newspaper. Sixteen others have yet to be quizzed, but Spanish law requires tha

The suspects are expected to face charges of arms smuggling, racketeering, money laundering and drug trafficking.

Police have frozen bank accounts containing a total of 12 million euros, as well as seizing 200,000 euros in cash, 23 luxury vehicles, a yacht, guns, as well as some art, including a Dali original.

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, the suspects have been linked to one of the most prominent organised crime groups in the world. The police had been following the Russian criminal group for more than a year.

More than 190 Spanish law enforcement officers took part in the operation.

Four of the those arrested are alleged to be the heads of a Russian criminal organisation.
One of the detainees, Vitaly Izgilov, was first arrested in 2005 on charges of money laundering but was released conditionally. Once free, it is claimed, he created another organisation to launder money.