Monday, July 8, 2013

Russian Police Catch Criminals Who Sent $1.1 Bln Abroad

Russian police have uncovered a Moscow-based criminal gang of more than 400 people that illegally transferred 36 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) out of Russia, the Interior Ministry said Monday. Several commercial banks and about 100 Russian and foreign companies – which police did not name – were used to launder the money abroad via "one-day companies" and real estate purchases in Cyprus and the Baltic states, according to a statement. In over five years of operations, the criminals charged clients a 2 percent commission, earning themselves a total profit of about 575 million rubles ($17.3 million), police said. Even Russian officials acknowledge that illegal money transfers are a significant drain on the Russian economy. Then head of the Central Bank, Sergei Ignatyev, said during a candid interview in February that $49 billion was sent out of the country illegally last year – about 2.5 percent of Russia’s GDP.

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