Russians and Ukrainians arrested in Spain

Russians  and Ukrainians arrested in SpainEleven people of primarily Ukrainian and Russian origin were arrested on Tuesday in Barcelona accused of connections with organized crime and money laundering, the Spanish anti-corruption prosecutor's office said.

The investigation found instances of organized crime, money laundering, forgery of official documents and tax avoidance, the prosecutor said in a statement.

Police in Spain said Tuesday they had arrested eight people and seized property worth €62 million ($68 million) as part of a probe into a group suspected of laundering Russian mafia money. The authorities seized 191 properties and 142 financial assets with a total estimated value of €62 million which they suspect were acquired with money from Russian organized crime.

The arrests were the second large case involving alleged activity by Russian criminal syndicates since May, when Spanish authorities issued warrants for 12 Russians, including senior officials, said to be operating out of the country.

Those arrested on Tuesday used capital from companies, mostly based in Cyprus or the British Virgin Islands, to acquire, or form, Spanish companies which were used to buy Spanish property, the statement said.

The prosecutor's office said it had discovered more than 10 million euros ($11 million) of laundered money which had been invested in Spanish property.

Spanish authorities also authorized 16 search warrants, blocked numerous bank accounts and seized property associated with the organization, including a luxury Japanese restaurant in Barcelona, the prosecutor said.

Source: Reuters and The Local
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