- Historical police coup in the Valencian Community against a Russian network that had infiltrated themselves in Spanish institutions
Agents from the National Police have arrested 23 people in an operation allegedly dedicated to money laundering by Russian mafia. The organisation which is said to have controlled key sectors of the Spanish economy had infiltrated state institutions, and had on their payroll lawyers, officials, politicians, businessmen and computer hackers.
The investigation began in 2013 when the agents first became aware of intensified activities in Spain by the Russian mafia, using the organisation as an entry point for the money laundering by criminal organizations from the former Soviet Union. They invested the money from a large number of different Criminal activities around the world in businesses in Spain, including discos, restaurants and property on the Spanish coast.
The also managed to infiltrate public institutions offering large sums of money to a number of key officials.
The police became aware of several criminal leaders of Russian origin who continuously frequented areas of Alicante and Ibiza and who, through front men established in Spain, maintained constant and systematic activity of investment of foreign capital in the country, with operations that were allegedly illegal in origin.
They carried out banking operations by transferring funds whose origins could not be sufficiently justified, involving the cash transport of large amounts of money through the national territory to and from abroad, as well as using dormant companies and front men.
These Organizations, whose criminal activities include murder, extortion, drug trafficking, arms and , human trafficking, have multiple networks across Europe, also extending their activity to South America and the USA. Profits from these criminal activities were invested in Spain in various businesses, mainly in leisure, hospitality and the real estate sector, through Russian businessmen linked to Russian Crime Syndicates.
The investigation was jointly carried out with EUROPOL and directed by the Special Prosecutor against Corruption and Organized Crime. It was found that the organisation not only carried out money laundering activities, but also committed many related crimes and was deeply rooted in Spanish society. To do this, they used part of the money brought into Spain to corrupt officials and politicians in strategic sectors.
Those investigated had established a powerful client network within the Spanish Administration, achieving infiltration in many institutions where they were able to carry out their business with impunity, resorting to bribery and influence peddling, both to facilitate their laundering operations by circumventing legal obstacles and achieving a variety of administrative favours, as well as protecting themselves from police and judicial investigations.
The high degree of the infiltration they had achieved in the state institutions provided the organisation with ample protection against police investigation, which had to be carried out with the utmost secrecy due to the danger of leaks.
During the seven years of investigation, it has been possible to accumulate enough evidence which can prove how criminal leaders were able to carry out money laundering operations, various investment projects, acquire land for luxury real estate developments, restaurants, industrial warehouses, boats, as well as the purchase of one of the main nightclubs on the island of Ibiza with the clear purpose of taking over the nightlife and catering, both on the Levantine coast and in the Balearic Islands.
Last Monday, agents carried out 18 raids on property and offices in Alicante, Madrid, Tarragona and Ibiza, arresting 23 members of the organisation including many of the organisation’s hierarchy.