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Spain Police Arrest Eight in Russian Mafia Probe


Spanish police said Wednesday they had arrested eight people on the holiday island of Majorca as part of an operation coordinated by Interpol against a Russian organized crime group.
The eight are suspected of laundering money for the Taganskaya criminal group, police said in a statement.
They are accused of tax fraud, document falsification, influence peddling and membership in a criminal organization.
"This is one of the largest criminal organizations in Moscow, which specializes in extortion from businesses that it pushes into bankruptcy and takes control of," the statement said.
"The searches carried out as part of the operation allowed investigators to confirm that Taganskaya used our country to launder money from its criminal activities in Russia," it added.
Spain's Mediterranean coast has become a top destination for Russian tourists, especially the Balearic Islands and the beach resorts near Barcelona in the northeast.
The influx of big-spending Russian tourists has been welcomed by hotel operators even as it raises fears that the region could become a magnet for criminal organizations.
In January police arrested five people in Lloret de Mar near Barcelona who are suspected of laundering large sums of money for Russian criminal gangs linked to Semion Mogilevich, one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives.
Police said searches carried out as part of that investigation found evidence that the suspects had links with major Russian crime groups like Solntsevskaya and Solomonskaya.