International drugs gang laundered EUR 338m

22nd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 May 2006, MADRID — Spanish police arrested 21 members of an international drugs smuggling gang said to have laundered EUR 338 million in Spain.

22 May 2006

MADRID — Spanish police arrested 21 members of an international drugs smuggling gang said to have laundered EUR 338 million in Spain.

The ring, made up mostly of Colombians and Spaniards, had laundered the drugs money in Spain since 2001, according to the General Police Administration.

Police also seized 193 kilos of cocaine during the operation against the ring's suspected members, who were charged with numerous crimes, including forgery, fraud and prostitution.

The suspects used bank accounts opened in the names of phantom corporations to launder money.

Large sums of money were transferred to corporations established in China, the United States, South Korea, Germany and several countries in Latin America, as well as in offshore banking centers like the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.

The ring used false invoices for purchases of foreign products, mostly computer equipment, to cover the transfers.

Funds generated by the illegal operation were used to purchase second-hand luxury vehicles in Germany that were then imported into Spain.

After resetting the odometers, the ring sold the vehicles to unsuspecting individuals, laundering the money in Spain.

Part of the money generated by the illegal operations was used by the ring to buy a high-class brothel in the southern city of Estepona, in Malaga, valued at about EUR 11.7 million.

A warehouse was also purchased to store the cars brought from Germany until they were sold, and the ring's members acquired a number of other properties for their personal use.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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