Tag Archives: russian mafia

Criminal Record: Vladimir Putin’s relationship with the Russian mafia

While the criminal underworld is thriving in Europe nobody really paid much attention as the “Bratva” – various organised crime groups who originated in the former Soviet Union – rose to become the largest in the world.

When Vladimir Putin appeared on television surrounded by his silent stony-faced generals as he threatened to unleash terror on Ukraine I was reminded of a quote by Bill Browder – an anti-corruption campaigner and financier.

“Imagine that Russia is like The Sopranos. In The Sopranos you had the Philadelphia mafia, the New Jersey mafia, the Manhattan mafia and the Brooklyn mafia and then you had the head capo who is above all of them. Vladimir Putin is the head capo.”


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

Russian mafia ‘increasingly active’ in Germany

The Russian mafia is becoming “increasingly active” in Germany, with networks recruiting in German prisons and groups bringing in billions of euros each year, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has warned.

“The Russian-Eurasian organized criminality is very dynamic” BKA President Holger Münch told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “They are already expanding in the west.”

One of the most dangerous groups, according to Münch, is the so-called ‘Thieves in law’ (Diebe im Gesetz) gang, founded in Stalin’s labour camps. The group from the former Soviet Union have their own ‘laws’ and a secret language, and is thought to be recruiting from within Germany’s prisons.

The BKA has previously linked 20,000 and 40,000 people in Germany to the group, and authorities believe that its members in Germany today represent “a five-figure number” – only rough estimates are possible due to the clandestine nature of the groups.

“Eight to ten percent of inmates in German penal facilities are Russian-speaking or of Russian origin; about 5,000 people,” explained Münch. “Not all of them are part of ‘Thieves in law’ but this figure shows the large potential for recruitment for these groups in Germany.”

The BKA President emphasized that organized crime may be operating in areas not traditionally associated with the mafia, for example apartment break-ins and shoplifting; Münch mentioned one Georgian shoplifter who had been able to earn €500 per day, and said it could be assumed “with certainty” that in 2015 criminality by these gangs had led to billions of euros worth of damages.

The mafia groups are also thought to operate in drug trafficking, tax fraud, economic offences, protection money and prostitution.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is working closely with the BKA. Münch said: “When people use the asylum process to commit crimes, care must be taken to ensure that their stay is as short as possible and that they are quickly expelled.”

Full article – http://www.thelocal.de/20160711/russian-mafia-increasingly-active-in-germany

Mafia Expert Roberto Saviano Denounces London As “The Most Corrupt Place On Earth”

Roberto Saviano, the mafia expert, has described London as the most corrupt place on the planet. The investigative journalist made his name by exposing the practices of the infamous Camorra clan centered in the Italian city of Naples.

Saviano has now gone on to describe the British capital as the center of an international network of bribery and crime.

“If I asked what is the most corrupt place on Earth, you might say it’s Afghanistan, maybe Greece, Nigeria, the south of Italy” He said. “I would say it is the UK. It’s not UK bureaucracy, police, or politics, but what is corrupt is the financial capital. Ninety per cent of the owners of capital in London have their headquarters offshore.”

This echoes observations made last week that major Western cities, such as London, New York and Miami harbor illicit funds and launder money through their lucrative property markets. It also directly challenges the David Cameron’s assertions that Afghanistan and Nigeria are “fantastically corrupt” and “possibly the most corrupt countries in the world”.

Saviano is challenging the accepted perspective of corruption in the West. For most governments and indeed members of the public, corruption is a problem of poor countries. Specifically, those that are far away and home to a largely alien culture. Our own frankly superior values would not hold credence to petty bribery schemes or misuse of public funds.

This mythical view is quickly exploded when one sees the eye-watering sums of money that are facilitated by the Western professional classes and businesses in relations with overseas despots and other unsavory characters.

Senior bankers have described London as the “most developed tax haven” available. Its new major has warned the city may grow into the global money-laundering capital. According to Transparency International, 33,000 London homes are owned by overseas shell companies in jurisdictions that are not legally obliged to declare the owner’s name.

This blind eye to dirty money can escalate to more serious crimes. Saviano recognizes this characterization. “In my lifetime, more than 4,000 people have been killed in Naples and the surrounding area by the Camorra.”

After exposing mafia crimes, the 10 years of his life has been accompanied by five body-guards in caravan of two armored cars. He has now turned his attention onto London.

For Saviano, The UK capital is the involved in almost every international crime going. In respect of drugs, “Mexico is its heart and London is its head”.  He claims that the city facilitates international organized crime and is home to the Russian mafia.

London, or, by extension, the West, is not immune to crime or corruption. In many cases, its sophisticated legal and financial systems facilitate it. Given the sums of money involved, where else can we find more corruption?

Sourced From – http://www.forbes.com/sites/jwebb/2016/05/30/mafia-expert-robert-saviano-denounces-london-as-the-the-most-corrupt-place-on-earth/#266f6567111a

Spain hunts ‘mafia-linked’ Russians including state officials

A top Spanish judge has issued international arrest warrants for 12 Russians suspected of organised crime, including high-ranking state officials.

The 12 are accused of links to Gennady Petrov, an alleged Russian mafia boss arrested in Spain in 2008 who later fled back to Russia.

Some of the accused are officials close to President Vladimir Putin’s circle, Spanish media report.

One of them, Nikolai Aulov, dismissed the Spanish move as “political”.

Mr Aulov is deputy head of the Russian Federal Anti-Narcotics Service (FSKN).

An FSKN statement (in Russian), quoted by the Lenta.ru news agency, said the order was “another move to fulfil a political instruction to discredit Russian Federation officials”.

According to the warrant issued by Judge Jose de la Mata, of Spain’s top criminal court, the 12 had links to Gennady Petrov’s Tambovskaya mafia syndicate, accused of contract killings, arms- and drug-trafficking, extortion, forgery and money-laundering.

Powerful figures

The suspects wanted by Spain include Igor Sobolevsky, ex-deputy head of the Russian Investigative Committee (SK) – a powerful state agency similar to the American FBI.

The list also includes Vladislav Reznik, an MP who previously chaired the Russian parliament’s financial markets committee. His wife Diana Gindin is on the list too.

Some of the 12 were also named in an indictment issued by Spanish prosecutors last year, which listed 27 Russian suspects.

Petrov was among 20 people arrested as part of a major investigation known as Operation Troika.

Spanish prosecutors say Petrov’s group had contacts with some senior government officials, including former defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov and former prime minister Viktor Zubkov.

Former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko, murdered in London with radioactive polonium-210 in 2006, had been helping Spanish officials to investigate Russian organised crime. His activities in Spain emerged in the official British inquiry into his death.

Read Full Article – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36194899