Thursday, June 09, 2005

Money Laundering Bust Spain

Spain dismantles money laundering group involving four Caribbean countries
Monday, June 6, 2005

MADRID, Spain (AFP): Spanish police said Friday they have dismantled a gang which laundered as much as 130 million dollars on the southern Spanish coast. Police believe the gang carried out assassinations, extortion and a variety of other crimes across eastern Europe, investing their gains in Spain and Andorra after transferring the cash via offshore accounts based in the Netherlands Antilles, Belize, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and Andorra.
Investigators also sifted through data from some 60 bank accounts in Spain and several other European countries.
With the cash the gang constructed hotels and tourist flats on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, profits from which went into accounts in tax havens or snapping up works of art, police allege.Police said they had arrested nine Spaniards, three Ukrainians and a Russian in Barcelona and Tarragona in the northeast of the country and in the southern city of Almeria after searching some 50 apartments and a four-star Almeria hotel.
Spanish authorities have in recent months been cracking down on the pervasive problem of money laundering.
According to the interior ministry, the police have secured some 650 million dollars worth of laundered cash on the Costa del Sol, dubbed the "Costa del Crime," particularly in the town of Marbella.


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