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Russian extortion ring smashed on the Costa del Sol

A police search at one of the properties.
A police search at one of the properties. / CNP
  • As part of the police investigations six searches were carried out at homes in Marbella (four), Estepona and Mijas

The National Police have arrested seven people for alleged extortion, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation offences.

Investigators said the gang contacted their victims, Russian citizens, and through falsified documentation made them believe that they were being prosecuted, and offered them the possibility of dismissing the charges by paying half a million euros.

The alleged extortions were directed from the Costa del Sol and Madrid, where the National Police have arrested seven people for their alleged involvement in the crimes of extortion, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation.

The investigations began at the beginning of 2019, after the officers received information that pointed to the presence of a network in Malaga province.

Police found out that they allegedly committed the extortions by making their victims believe that the organisation had the power to initiate judicial proceedings in Russia and that they also had access to police databases. To stop the creation of proceedings or, if necessary, to end them, they demanded their victims to pay them 500,000 euros by posing as intermediaries of the Russian authorities.

Investigators said the operational capacity of the network was so remarkable that, in the midst of the pandemic, a member of the extortion gang travelled from Russia to Madrid to secretly interview people close to one of the victims. The objective was to give instructions on how the person should make the payment of the 500,000 euros requested if he wanted to see his criminal problems resolved in Russia. This situation was used by the officers to closely monitor the meeting and, once it was concluded, arrested the extortionist.

Police found that all the alleged members of the organisation led a high standard of living with luxurious residences and high-end vehicles.

As a result of the investigations, the National Police have arrested a total of seven people, in Malaga and Madrid, and searched six properties on the Costa del Sol in Marbella (four), Estepona and Mijas.

Officers found various paper and electronic documents which, it is believed, could contain incriminating evidence of the extortion activities carried out by the criminal group.

In addition, five bank accounts have been frozen and some 45,000 euros in cash, along with four high-end vehicles, as well as a large amount of jewellery, watches and almost a hundred luxury bags have been seized.