POLICE SWOOP ON TOP RUSSIAN MAFIA MEN

More than 300 Judicial Police, Guardia Civil and Customs Officers arrested 20 people last Friday in raids against a major Russian mafia gang, which were ordered by Judge Baltasar Garzon, the man who tried to jail former Chilean ruler Augusto Pinochet. The suspects, who were picked up in Madrid, Alicante, Mallorca and Malaga, have been accused of arms trafficking, money-laundering and contract killings. Sr Garzon flew to Palma de Mallorca last Friday to interrogate the four people arrested there, and then went on to Malaga over the weekend to question the ten who picked up the province. The raids were carried out in private homes and companies in Madrid, Campello and Jávea in Alicante, Valencia, Malaga city, Marbella, Estepona, Nerja and Torrox, and Almuñécar in Granada. Alexander Malyshev, a major Russian capo, was arrested at his luxurious home in Frigiliana. Sr Garzon said the suspects belonged the “most important Russian criminal gang in the world” – the Tambov organised crime group, named after a region in central Russia with its base in St Petersburg. An Interior Ministry spokesman said Operation Troika began two years ago and that Sr Garzon had received information from the police Germany, Russia and Switzerland and the FBI. He said the suspects were using front companies to launder money from criminal activities in Russia and other former Soviet countries. They are also suspected of drug trafficking and tax fraud. A police spokesman said the gang was close to the seat of power in Moscow. According to the Spanish press, the group has been operating in Spain for the last 12 years.

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