Russia's law enforcement agencies have resumed cooperation with Spain on the criminal actions of "Russian mafia". Moscow has already reviewed the request of the possibility of four people extradition to Spain; as a result, businessman Leon Lunn with an American passport was arrested, he had also been wanted by the authorities of the United States. There is much more complicated situation with other three wanted men - "thieves in law" Tariel Oniani and Vladimir Tyurin, as well as businessman Konstantin Manoukian. All of them are Russia's citizens.
Spaniards initiated a large-scale operation almost immediately after the resumption of cooperation: 69 people were detained in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria in March. All of them are suspected of involvement in transnational criminal networks. One of those who fell behind bars, appeared to be the alleged leader of the community Kakhaber Shushanashvili, the brother of one of the most influential Russian "mafia bosses" - Shushanashvili Lasha (Lasha Rustavi).
Yesterday's large-scale operation in Europe took place immediately after the Russia's government announcement on March 10 about the possible extradition of Tariel Oniani (Taro) to Spain; he had been arrested in Moscow on charges of kidnapping a businessman.
As the Spanish police announced on Tuesday, Lasha was supposed to be detained during operations on the territory of Greece. However, he managed to disappear mysteriously, and the Spaniards blamed the Greek authorities in that. According to them, "thief in law" had been warned about the arrest, so he went straight from under the nose of the Greek police.
Leonid Kaplan (later became known as the Leon Lann) was born in Novosibirsk in 1946, then together with his parents he moved in Leningrad, and in the early 1980's he emigrated to the United States. He settled in Los Angeles, and there, according to the FBI, he quickly made friends with the "Russian mafia". In particular, he took an active part in shady deals with insurance.
Fraudsters created a whole chain of fake medical centers in the U.S. Those structures existed only on paper, but fielded hundreds of false invoices to the local insurance companies. In the accounts the dealers indicated they had been allegedly providing medical care to insured persons and asked for payments. The pseudo-doctors earned millions of dollars in such a way.
In 1997, the Central District Court in Los Angeles issued a warrant for the arrest of Leon Lann, and he promptly left for Moscow. However, the American authorities declared a suspect only in the local search, and did not pass the information to Interpol.
According to intelligence agencies, in Moscow Lannes-Kaplan joined one of the most ambitious plans of Russian businessmen and the gangs’ representatives on establishing a huge complex of different casinos in the city. American friends recommended Lann to the local Mafiosi in order to let him participate in the capital project.
However, the "authorities" and the businessmen failed to construct a united gambling complex, but they managed to create five major casinos in the capital, which had been bringing fabulous profits, since they paid no taxes. Part of that money had been "laundered" and sent to Spain.
According to the intelligence agencies, in March 2003, in Spain there was a large-scale meeting, attended by the following "thieves in law": Zahar Kalashov, Aslan Usoyan, Vladimir Tyurin (Tyurikov), Vitaly Izgilov (Beast), Tariel Oniani (Taro), Merab Gogia ( Merab), Khachidze Jamal (Jamal represented the interests of the Solntsevo gang), Vakhtang Kardava, Mamuka Mikeladze, Armen Arutyunov, as well as several businessmen, including Leon Lunn.
It was decided then to establish in Spain one of the largest financial "laundry" through which they would held the majority of criminal and semi-criminal proceeds by Russian mafia. The gangsters also decided to invest the "washed" funds in the purchase of real estate on the Costa del Sol, as well as in various other projects.
For this purpose, they created several companies, in particular Sunnivest 2000, Elviria Invest, Megrisa, Megabetta V and N, Inmboliarios Estepona, etc. According to the version of the Spanish investigators, two founders Sunnivest 2000 - Leon Lunn and Konstantin Manoukian were in charge of the money "laundering".
The "Laundry" worked so well that soon other criminal groups from Russia, in particular from St. Petersburg began to use its services.
As for Tariel Oniani, the FMS has recently acknowledged that he received Russia's passport unreasonably. But it’s untimely to talk about his extradition to Spain. The "thief" is in custody on charges of kidnapping and extortion in Moscow. The decision to strip him of Russia’s citizenship has not yet passed through any court.
Moreover, as Rosbalt has already reported, Investigative Committee at the Public Prosecutor's Office of the RF and intelligence agencies recently asked the "thief in law" about the details of his relationship with Boris Berezovsky, with whom Oniani had common business projects at the time, and even were on friendly terms (for example, they flew together to Tbilisi during the "Rose Revolution" that brought Mikheil Saakashvili to power in Georgia).
In particular, they questioned Oniani in detail about former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko poisoning in London. The "thief" refused to give any testimonies. But anyway it is quite possible that Russia's security services are not going to let such a valuable witness off.
"ROSBALT" from 16.03.2010