Alexander Grinberg, the president of Marbella Football Club, left Alhaurín de la Torre jail on Wednesday after paying the 750,000-euro bail set by the Malaga provincial court. The Russian was arrested along with three others in September as part of a Guardia Civil operation against an organisation that was allegedly linked to mafia groups operating on the Costa del Sol.
Two others, Oleg Kuznetsov, the main shareholder in the firm Aguas Sierra de Mijas, and Arnold Tamm, the alleged leader of the organisation, were released days previously after paying similar sums.
Kuznetsov's defence lawyer Francisco Carvajal had called for his client's release, arguing that there was no evidence against him and referred to "errors" in the investigation that had been carried out "from a computer and with no knowledge of mercantile law".
Kuznetsov maintained that he was a businessman who did "business, not money laundering", denying links to criminal organisations and pointing out that he has no criminal record in Russia or Spain. "He shouldn't be suspected just because he's Russian," said Carvajal who described the bail sum as "excessive".
Similar arguments were given by the defence lawyer representing Arnold Tamm, who is considered by the Guardia Civil as one of the top members of the Russian mafia group known as Solntsevkaya. Tamm, whose real surname is Spivalovski, is allegedly "closely linked" to Semion Mogilevich, the leader of the organisation and one of the FBI's most wanted criminals since 2009, in connection with a fraud worth 150 million dollars.
Tamm's lawyer has said that the "organisation does not exist and he is not the boss". "Being a national of an ex-Soviet Republic is not evidence that a crime has been committed," said the lawyer in his appeal for bail. He maintained that his client was on holiday in Marbella and telephone calls did not infer his participation in the events under investigation.
Alexander Grinberg also said that his nationality should not be considered as evidence. According to his defence "he is a citizen who has moved his assets from Russia to Spain, who pays his taxes and whose children are at school in this country and therefore, is unlikely to fail to appear."
The provincial court granted bail despite opposition from the public prosecution, who argued that there was a risk that the suspects could fail to appear in court. The magistrates said that the sums of 750,000 euros had been set "as a clear deterrent" to attempts to escape justice.
All three have been ordered to report to court on 1 and 15 of each month and their passports have been taken away from them.
Codenamed Oligarkl, the operation began four years ago and ended in September with the breaking up of the Spanish arms of the Russian criminal organisations: Solntsevskaya and Izmailovskaya, according to the Guardia Civil.
It appears that the two gangs, rivals in Russia, but associated in Spain, had formed a complex web of businesses in this country to launder monies obtained illegally outside Spain. This was done mainly through three major investments, in Marbella FC, the Aguas Sierra de Mijas water botelling company and Dama de Noche golf club. It is estimated that the total sum of money laundered in in Spain is more than 30 million euros, according to the Guardia Civil investigation.