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13 Jun, 2008 14:48

Spanish crack down on Russian mafia

Spanish police have arrested over 20 suspected members of a Russian organised crime group. They've been charged with arms smuggling, racketeering, and drug trafficking. According to Spanish newspapers, the police operation “Troika” was carried

The police had been following the Russian criminal group for more than a year.

They discovered over 500 bank accounts through which the criminals transferred tens of millions of euros offshore.

The operation was headed by the Spanish Criminal Court member Baltasar Garzon, known for starting cases against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the Basque political party Batasuna.

Up to 400 police took part in the operation, conducting searches in Malaga, Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante and Valencia.

Four of the detainees are the alleged heads of a Russian criminal organisation involved in illegal activities, including money laundering.
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.