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Russian Organised Crime on Rise, Police Say

MOSCOW, Nov 15, (Itar-Tass) — This year’s organised crime rate is tending to grow, the Russian Interior Ministry’s Anti-Organised Crime Directorate (GUBOP) chief, police Lieutenant-General Vladimir Kozlov told Itar-Tass on Sunday. In the course of Terek-2 anti-crime operation conducted in the autumn, GUBOP has raided over 1,300 eneteprises and businesses controlled by North Caucasus and Trancaucasus organised criminal groups, he said.

The raids resulted in the closure of 80 businesses and seizure of an illegally spirited six million roubles, 23 kilogrammes of platinum concentrate, 450 kilogrammes of industrial gold and non-ferrous metals worth over 800,000 roubles.

“This is an appreciable blow to the crime groups. If they have no money, they have no arms, no transport, no communications,” Kozlov said.

He said another phase of the anti-crime operation, called Granitsa (Border), started on November 1.

Police have detained 65 people who were on Russia’s federal and on international wanted lists.

In addition, the Russian Interior Ministry’s anti-organised crime directorate and interior ministries of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have jointly liquidated 25 organised criminal groups with a total membership of 102 that traded in arms, drugs and stolen transport in Central Asia.

Kozlov said over 2,900,000 million roubles worth of money and valuables, 56 kilogrammes of explosives and a lot of arms had been seized from these groups.

However, a “tendency of growth of crimes committed by organised criminal groups is lingering, and the growth is very significant”, Kozlov said.

“While about 11,000 criminal cases were instituted on materials of the service (GUBOP) against 3,428 members of organised criminal groups in 1998, over 14,000 criminal cases were (instituted) against 3,824 members from January 1 to October 30,” he said.

He said “the activity of 21 organised criminal groups has been totally stopped” this year.

As for methods of GUBOP, “we set as our main goal what in the official language is called ‘undermining the economic base of organised crime. Speaking more simply, our main task is not to let bandits make money”, Kozlov said.

“Indeed, criminals bribe investigators and judges, hire killers just with ‘dirty money’. And if a band has no money, it cannot live. This year alone, we have instituted 3,474 criminal cases of the economic quality and 1,033 on facts of corruption,” he said.

Kozlov said criminal groups launder money in a diversity of ways, including buying houses, factories and controlling stakes at major enterprises and setting up quite legal firms with stolen money.

“Over the ten months, we have instituted 166 criminal cases on facts of the laundering of capital that was criminally gotten through legal commercial structures,” he said.

Kozlov cited a trial that had recently started at Yekaterinburg’s city court, with two leaders of a so-called Uralmash organised crime group on the dock.

Uralmash is a Urals industrial giant whose origins date back to the early Soviet era.

Kozlov said the two leaders had been charged with 25 contract murders and over 100 other dangerous crimes. The twosome, Kurdyumov and Tereshchenko, have long kept the large Sverdlovsk region in fear.

Investigation is continuing into another major criminal group that stole proceeds of oil sales.

Kozlov said the group included Nefteyugansk’s former administration head Severin, his deputy Khusainov and a former president of Rondo-S company, Sharakin.

Severin and Khusainov were arrested, and Sharakin placed on the international wanted list.

“In total, our service has revealed 3,219 crimes committed by officials with the use of office, including 971 cases on facts of bribery; 274 chiefs of state authority organs complicit in organised criminal groups have been detained,” Kozlov said.

 Source: Itar-Tass News Agency

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