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Police uncover massive money laundering network in Spain

Spanish police are investigating the discovery of a massive money-laundering operation in southern Spain. Yesterday the Interior Ministry announced that 41 people had been arrested and that more than 250 million euros of illegal money had been laundered in Marbella and Alicante in what is the biggest police operation against money laundering in Spanish history.

300 Spanish police have participated in this investigation which began two years ago and has since uncovered a network of people from Spain, Morrocco, France, Finland, Russian and Ukrania who are accused of laundering black money from different sources, including the Russian oil company Yukos. According to reports in the Spanish media, millions of euros were taken from Yukos, transferred to a Dutch company and re-invested in a Spanish branch of the same company.

Police have searched 18 homes and 251 different real estate promotions along the Costa del Sol, including luxury mansions and complexes. Police have seized van-loads full of documents, hard discs, 42 luxury cars (Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes….

), two private planes and a yacht.

Operation “white whale” (as Spanish police have called it) began in 2003 and its misión was to investigate links between a lawyers firm in Marbella and groups of international organized crime. According to reports in Cadena Ser, the firm was used to launder massive sums of illegal money from criminal sources such as international trade of drugs, arms, prostitution, kidnapping, blackmail, and tax evasion. One of the fiscal judges investigating the case said today that “the worse was still to come” and some put the sum of laundered money at 600 million euros.

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