19 Jul, 2007 @ 12:02
1 min read

Ex Government minister arrested for mafia links


PlanellsPlanells accused of bribery after giving immigration documents to Russian gangs

THE Government’s former number two in Catalunya has been arrested on suspicion of involvement with an Eastern European mafia gang.

Eduard Planells, who was the government’s subdelegate in the region, is accused of misuse of position and bribery after he knowingly gave immigration documents to suspected members of a Russian-Georgian crime gang.

A police spokesman confirmed Planells – who was questioned over alleged close ties to Russian crime gangs in 2005 – was arrested in Barcelona along with two civil servants and an employee at the Russian Consulate in the Catalan city.

A court later released the detainees without charge.

The arrests were part of Operation Avispa, a year-long crackdown on East European mafias in Spain which has seen a total of 40 people – including 22 suspected Russian capos – detained for their alleged involvement with organised crime.

Among those arrested in 2006 was Georgian-born crime lord Zakhar Kalashov.

Considered one of the most dangerous criminals in Russia for his involvement in several murders and the trafficking of drugs, Kalashov is currently behind bars in Soto del Real prison in Leon.

Also arrested in the crackdown was Oleg Vorontsov, the former advisor to ex-Russian President Boris Yeltsin who is believed to have bribed prison officials to gain better treatment for Kalashov.

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