Monday, June 16, 2008


Mafia? and Russian to boot, in Spain.

This from Al Jazeera.

Spanish police bust mafia ring
The raids resulted in the arrests of 20 suspected mafia members [AFP]

Spanish police say they have broken up a Russian mafia group operating in the country after arresting 20 people.

A painting, believed to be by Spanish maestro Salvador Dali, was also recovered during the raids against the mafia group, the police said on Saturday. The painting, signed by Dali and dated 1949, was found on Friday at a property in Valencia, a police spokesman said.

The raids came after a two-year investigation by Spanish police. Experts will now determine whether the recovered painting is authentic, the spokesman said.

About $307,000, denominated in euros, was recovered during the anti-mafia searches, along with several luxury cars.

The raids took place simultaneously in several locations on Friday, from the island of Majorca to Malaga in the south and Valencia to the east.

Twenty people, including Gennadios Petrov, an alleged Russian mafia boss, were arrested in the

operation, and bank accounts totalling $18.4m have been frozen.

The Russian mafia group is "one of the four biggest in the world", Spanish police said.

The organisation used Spain as a base for its senior leaders and for laundering money made from illegal activities in Russia and other former Soviet states, the police say.