Spanish authorities have arrested a Russian politician and businessman on
the island of Tenerife who is believed to be the leader of a money
The man, identified only as V. Khamel, is the alleged leader of a Russian
criminal gang which has been charged with laundering around 18 million EUR
(15.8 million GBP) from drug dealing and corruption.
The Spanish civil guard says they have dismantled the gang which are based
in the popular Spanish island of Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands off
the western coast of Africa.
The authorities say they have so far arrested six people of different
nationalities, including the alleged leader, Russian national Khamel.
According to local media, Khamel is a former politician and businessman who
moved to Tenerife in 2001 and has been wanted by authorities in his country
since 2006 for corruption and smuggling.
The suspects have all been charged with money laundering and other crimes
including belonging to a criminal gang.
Official sources say that 13 searches were carried out by the civil guard in
offices, businesses, a bank and a ship in the port of Tenerife.
According to official sources, the leader of the organisation and his
alleged lawyer played the main part in creating 10 'shell companies' of
which the finances were done by a local bank director on the island.
More than 100,000 EUR (88,085 GBP) in cash have been seized, almost all
comprising of 500-euro (440-GBP) banknotes, mobile phones, technological
devices, documentation and six vehicles.
Four houses valued at four million EUR (3.5 million GBP) have also been
seized as a preventive measure.
Khamel is also believed to have large amounts of money in fiscal paradises
such as Panama and the British Virgin Islands.
The criminal money was also used to buy luxury houses, yachts, vehicles and
to pay the cost of a living the high life in the island.
Part of the money was also sent to France and invested in houses in the city
centre of Paris.
The operation began in 2015 with the cooperation of Europol and French
Authorities say the gang laundering around 14 million EUR (12.3 million GBP)
in Spain and four million EUR (3.5 million GBP) in France.