Putin inner circle and St. Petersburg Mob

The largest investigation into the Russian mafia in Europe speaks Spanish. A report of almost 500 pages summarizes more than ten years of investigation. Among ministers and deputy prime ministers, links between the state and the mafia get evident. And the name of Putin is mentioned three times.

Prosecutors Juan Carrau and Jose Grinda sent the Spanish central court the more detailed report ever written on the activities of the Russian mafia abroad. Thousands of taped phone calls, scanned bank transfers, property and assets checked. At the end of the 448 pages the links between top government officials and members of the Tambov gang, a mafia clan prospered in St. Petersburg of the 90 when Putin was deputy mayor of the city, are more than a clue. And the Russian President himself is mentioned. Now, the Spanish judiciary has asked for the 27 defendants a total of 148 years in prison and a fine of EUR 2.5 million.

The gang

According to the report, the leader of the organization is Gennady Petrov, a businessman resident in Spain. Petrov’s sponsor is Vladislav Reznik, a member of Putin's party, United Russia, and deputy head of the finance committee of the Duma. “The criminal organization headed by Petrov managed to achieve a clear penetration of the state structures in his country, not only with the lawmaker Reznik but with several ministers,” prosecutors wrote. His network in Moscow links Viktor Zubkov, the chairman of Gazprom wand former prime minister, to his son-in-law Anatoly Serdyukov, former Defense Minister and current director of the giant military Rostec. As well as the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and the head of the powerful Central Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, who reports directly to Putin.

Cable

And in fact, in the wiretapping collected by Spanish prosecutor mention the Russian president three times, also in conversations between members of the gang of Tambov. A classified cable, released by Wikileaks, sent to Washington from the US Embassy in Madrid after US-Spain Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Experts Working Group meeting, reveals more details. Grinda believes that “Russia is a virtual ‘mafia state’ where one cannot differentiate between the activities of the government and organized crime groups”.

Grinda reports the thesis by Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian intelligence official who died in 2006 in London from poisoning from polonium, that the Russian intelligence controls organized crime in Russia. “The FSB is absorbing the Russian mafia but they can also eliminate them in two ways: by killing leaders who do not do what the security services want them to do or by putting them behind bars to eliminate them as a competitor for influence”.

Officials of the US Embassy concluded that “Grinda's comments are insightful and valuable, given his in-depth knowledge of the Eurasian mafia and his key role in Spain's pioneering efforts to bring Eurasian mafia leaders to justice”.

The Spanish investigators have repeatedly warned the other European countries about the danger of mafia penetration. None has reason to be considered out of danger. "Italy is one of the areas in which Russian criminal organization make the investment of large amounts of capital in real estate, financial and business," said recently the deputy national anti-Mafia prosecutor, Diana De Martino. But Italy, perhaps struggling with their own mafias, has not yet addressed the issue with the same efforts.

@daniloeliatweet

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