Story By: Juan Fenandez Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Authorities have dismantled an international crime group in Spain that illegally sent Russian weapons to conflict zones in northern Africa and the Middle East.
The operation dubbed ‘YAKIR’ was conducted by the Spanish National Police, the Spanish Tax Office, Europol and local police on Tuesday 10th November.
Seven raids resulted in the arrest of seven people from Latvia, Spain and Ukraine across three Spanish provinces including Alicante which is known for its 120-mile stretch of the ‘Costa Blanca’ (White Coast).
According to an official report, investigations started in the year 2018 after an internal conflict between some of the heads of the group lead to gaps in security which lead police to become aware of their presence.
Police found the group would participate in the selling of Russian weapons through chartered ships they would send to several destinations but primarily to conflict zones in northern Africa or in the Middle East.
The group would charter the ships from Spain which were sent from Ukraine and would camouflage their illegal weapons in shipments with other legal armaments.
The organisation would launder their money by sending it to tax havens and then transfer it to European bank accounts usually based in the United Kingdom or Switzerland before finally sending it to Spain making it appear it came from legal sources.
The video shows the moment police raid some of the homes where they find large sums of cash along with computers appearing to have important financial information for the case.
The raids took place in the Barcelona province in the autonomous community of Catalonia and in the Valencia and Alicante provinces in the Valencia autonomous community.
The police report says cops seized important financial documents, computers and cash but did not specify the exact amount.
The report adds the group showed they were skilled at conducting complex international operations and included an example where they helped one of their ship’s captains escape custody after his boat was intercepted by Greek authorities but did not give further information on the incident.
A judge ordered for the embargo of 18 properties and froze over 50 financial assets which amount to well over EUR 10 million (GBP 8.97 million).
Three of the seven detained suspects were placed in prison for suspicion of being the ring leaders of the operation and are under the custody of the Central Court number two from the National High Court.
It is unclear if they have been given a trial date or if the other four suspects have any charges against them.
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