Forty arrested in French raids on Georgian 'mafia' gangs

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French police on Tuesday said they arrested more than 40 people in nationwide raids on Georgian criminals, seizing cash, gold, arms, fake papers and cigarettes.

The raids were conducted in the southern cities of Marseille and Nice, in Bordeaux and within the Paris area.

The suspects are thought to have been involved in credit card fraud, armed robberies, theft and violence and dealing in counterfeit goods.

Police said the Georgian "mafia gangs", who have been operating in Western Europe and especially France since the break-up of the Soviet Union, were very "structured" and "hierarchical".

They are also believed to be behind "score-settling" attacks within the Georgian expatriate community.

© 2013 AFP

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