Berlin police swoop on Russian mafia

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A Berlin-based Russian man has been detained by police as part of a larger operation against money laundering and arms trafficking in Spain

Berlin -- A suspected Russian mafia lynchpin has been arrested in Berlin, following a swoop on Russian money launderers and arms traffickers in Spain, prosecutors said Saturday.

The 55-year-old, identified in German media as Mikhail R., was picked up at his Berlin apartment on Thursday on the basis of a European arrest warrant requested by Spanish authorities.

A court will decide whether to extradite the man, who is wanted on charges of money laundering, forgery and providing support to a criminal organization, the Berlin prosecutor's office said.

Spanish police detained at least 20 Russian mafia suspects in raids carried out in the southern Costa del Sol, Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante and the Balearic Islands on June 13.

They were believed to be members of the Tamboskaya crime syndicate, named after the village of Tambos near St Petersburg, where most of the gang came from.

The network, which had been active in Spain since the late 1990s, was suspected of laundering money from criminal activities elsewhere, contract killings and trafficking in arms. DPA

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