Sunday, March 13, 2005

Russian oil corporation linked to international money laundering network arrest

Spanish authorities have broken up an international
money laundering network worth 250 million euros (337
million dollars) and arrested 41 people, officials said.

Among those arrested in the swoop, involving Interpol
and Europol, were people from France, Finland, Morocco,
Russia, Spain and Ukraine, among them several lawyers,
the interior ministry said in a statement.

The interior ministry said the money laundering
operation involved capital and real estate dealings by
several organized crime groups centred on the Costa del

It said it was its largest operation ever against money
laundering, lasting ten months and involving more than
300 officers.

The arrests were first announced late Friday by Spanish
anti-corruption police, who said people had been
detained around Marbella.

Large sums of money were believed to have been diverted
from the Russian oil giant Yukos to a Dutch company and
then to one of its Spanish branches, the ministry
statement said.

Russian authorities had assisted Spanish police in their
investigations, it said.

A number of bank accounts were frozen and two private
planes, a boat and 42 luxury cars were impounded during
the police operation.

The ministry said there could be further arrests.

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