A Spanish judge tries to cut the Russian mafia web.
A judge in Spain’s National Court has sent out international arrest warrants for Russian citizens, including some close to President Vladimir Putin, allegedly linked to the mafia.
Judge Jose de la Mata, who investigates organized crime, found “very serious facts” against each of the men stemming from the Troika operation. The court opened that investigation in in 2008 two mafias in Eastern Europe: Tambov and Malyshev.
“(The Tambov group) maintains strong links with political, economic, legal and security powers in Russia and also with members of other international criminal organizations,” he said in his report.
The names include Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. He joined Putin’s administration in 1999-2000 after he enjoyed a career as a public prosecutor in St. Petersburg. He became Deputy Prime Minister in 2008. The U.S. Department of Treasury added him to a sanctions list on April 28, 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. The European Union added him to their list the following day.
Russian businessman and chairman of the State Duma Committee on Finances Vladislav Reznik also appeared on the list. He holds a degree in biology and used to run the insurance company Rus. While there, he employed now-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He became a member of the State Duma in 1999.
The Spanish centered the investigation around Gennady Petrov, who supposedly runs the Tambov gang. Authorities arrested him in 2008, but they allowed him to travel to Russia where he took up residence in St. Petersberg.
“The criminal organization headed by Petrov managed to achieve a clear penetration of the state structures of his country, not only with the lawmaker [Vladislav] Reznik but with several ministers,” claimed the prosecutors.
Petrov became co-owner of the Bank Rossia in 1998 to 1999, together with three of Putin’s close friends: Nikolai Shamalov, Viktor Myachin, and Yury Kovalchuk. The three Putin friends were founding members of the Ozero Collective.
The Ozero (“Lake”) Collective is a residential housing cooperative that Putin and close acquaintances formed in 1996 to purchase lakeside property and build vacation homes for themselves near St. Petersburg. The homes form a gated community and the members of the cooperative have since gone on to prominent positions in Russian government and business and become very wealthy.
Judge de la Mata wrote that Nikolai Nikolaevich Aulov, who works in the Ministry of Interior of Russia, use his position to help those in the mafia.
“Aulov uses his power and have certain people you trust to carry out acts of intimidation or threats to certain people who try to harm Petrov,” he wrote.
The British inquiry into the death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvenko claimed he helped the Spanish authorities track down the Russian mafia in the country.
No one knows for sure if anything will come from the warrants, though.
“Today the main figures in the Spanish [prosecutor’s] report are living in Russia without any problems, and they are doing fine,” explained Andrei Zykov, a former investigator in St. Petersburg.
Judge De la Mata issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seven officials last November over the Freedom Flotilla attack in 2010.DONATE
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