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Russian mafia boss still at large after FBI wiretap at Trump Tower

There, indeed, was an FBI wiretap involving Russians at Trump Tower.

But it was not placed at the behest of Barack Obama and the target was not the Trump campaign of 2016. For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower.

The FBI investigation led to a federal grand jury indictment of more than 30 people, including one of the world’s most notorious Russian mafia bosses, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. Known as the “Little Taiwanese,” Tokhtakhounov was the only target to slip away, and he remains a fugitive from American justice.

Five months after the April 2013 indictment and after Interpol issued a “red notice” for Tokhtakhounov, the fugitive appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Moscow Miss Universe pageant. Trump had sold the Russian rights for Miss Universe to a billionaire Russian shopping mall developer.

“He is a major player,” said Mike Gaeta, the FBI agent who led the 2013 FBI investigation of Tokhtakhounov and his alleged mafia money laundering and gambling ring, in a 2014 interview with ABC News. “He is prominent, he has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries.”

Gaeta, who ran the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit of the FBI’s New York office told ABC News at the time that federal agents were closely tracking Tokhtakhounov, whose Russian ring was suspected of moving more than $50 million in illegal money into the United States.

“Because of his status, we have kept tabs on is activities, and particularly as his activities truly enter New York city,” Gaeta said. “Their money was ultimately laundered from Russia, Ukraine and other locations through Cyprus banks and shell companies based in Cyprus, and then ultimately here to the United States.”

The FBI investigation did not implicate Trump. But Trump Tower was under close watch. Some of the Russian mafia figures worked out of the 63rd floor unit in the iconic skyscraper –- just three floors below Trump’s penthouse residence — running what prosecutors called an “international money laundering, sports gambling and extortion ring.”

The Trump building was home to one of the top men in the alleged ring, Vadim Trincher who pleaded guilty to racketeering and received a five-year prison term. He is due to be released in July.

“Everything was moving in and out of there,” said former FBI official Rich Frankel, now an ABC News consultant.

Read Full – http://abcnews.go.com/US/story-fbi-wiretap-russians-trump-tower/story?id=46266198

EU Police Agency: 314 Arrested in Organized Crime Raids

  • By MIKE CORDER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Oct 19, 2016, 8:40 AM

Police and other law enforcement organizations around the world cooperated in a massive weeklong operation targeting organized crime that led to 314 arrests, the seizure or 2.4 tons of cocaine and interception of hundreds of migrants, European Union police agency Europol announced Wednesday.

Law enforcement teams in 52 countries, supported by organizations including Interpol and EU border agency Frontex, took part in the series of interlinked raids and investigations that also focused on cybercrime and airline ticket fraud.

“The results are pretty impressive, I think, in terms of the number of arrests,” Europol Director Rob Wainwright told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I’m especially happy with the impact on trafficking human beings and the number of potential victims that we identified.”

Europol said the operation intercepted 745 migrants and identified 529 victims of human trafficking.

Wainwright said that the multi-agency operation involving nations around the world is an effective way of tackling modern organized crime networks.

“Crime is becoming more cross-border and criminal networks are becoming more agile at operating in different criminal markets simultaneously,” he said.

Another focus was airline fraud and police detained 193 people suspected of traveling using tickets bought with stolen or fake credit cards.

Such fraud costs the aviation industry an estimated $1 billion a year, Europol said. Wainwright said that there are vital security implications, too.

“We cannot allow anyone, in particular serious criminals and terrorists, to travel around the world anonymously and to endanger others,” he said in a statement.

Among other raids, Greek police discovered a fake travel agency that was facilitating migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings, while in Austria police raiding a brothel also discovered a cannabis plantation, triggering a new investigation.

Sourced From – http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/eu-police-agency-314-arrested-organized-crime-raids-42900532