Prosecutor says Russia a virtual 'mafia state': WikiLeaks
Russia is a virtual "mafia state" whose political parties operate "hand in hand" with organised crime, said a US memo revealed by WikiLeaks and published by the Guardian newspaper Wednesday.
Spanish prosecutor Jose Gonzalez told US officials that "he considers ... Russia to be a virtual 'mafia state'" where "one cannot differentiate between the activities of the government and organised crime groups," it said.
Gonzalez, who has been investigating Russian organised crime in Spain for a decade, also agreed with poisoned dissident Alexander Litvinenko's thesis that Russian intelligence and security services "owned organised crime."
The memo, sent in February of this year from the US embassy in Madrid, cited the senior prosecutor as claiming that "certain political parties in Russia operate 'hand in hand' with organised crime."
"He argued that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was created by the KGB and its successor, the SVR, and is home to many serious criminals," the memo continued.
Gonzalez later alleged "there are proven ties between the Russian political parties, organised crime and arms trafficking."
The cable relayed that Gonzalez believed Russian intelligence officials were behind the 2009 case of an Arctic Sea cargo ship which was suspected of carrying weapons destined for Iran.
Far from being a localised problem, Gonzalez said he also considered Belarus and Chechnya to be virtual mafia states, with Ukraine soon to follow.
© 2010 AFP