Spain detains 20 in swoops against Russian mafia

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Spanish police detains at least 20 people in swoops on Russian money launderers and arms traffickers.

13 June 2008

MADRID - Spanish police Friday detained at least 20 people in swoops on Russian money launderers and arms traffickers, police sources said.

Most of the detainees were believed to have occupied leading positions in the criminal network. The judge who ordered the operation had issued a total of 25 arrest warrants.

More than 300 police participated in the swoops in Malaga on the southern Costa del Sol, Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante and the Balearic Islands.

Most of the suspected ring leaders were caught in Malaga. The top leader, known as Petrov, was held in Calvia on the holiday island of Majorca.

Police searched dozens of addresses including companies and luxury villas.

The ring was known as Tamboskaya, because its members came from a village called Tambos near Saint Petersburg, police said.

The criminals showed off with flashy cars and glamorous women, local residents said in Palma de Majorca, where the suspects also had a flat.

The network, which had been present in Spain since the late 1990s, was suspected of laundering money from criminal activities elsewhere, trafficking with arms, ordering killings and giving bribes.

The investigation discovered more than 500 bank accounts used by the network, which was thought to have laundered tens of millions of euros annually, according to media reports.

The operation was staged with the support of German, Swiss and US intelligence services. It was the biggest against Russian crime in Spain since 2007, when police completed an operation that had led to more than 30 arrests since 2005.

Spain's Costa del Sol is known for the presence of international criminals.

[dpa / Expatica]

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