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Former top Russian official arrested in Spain on money laundering charges, say police

His wife and son were also apprehended

MADRID, November 7. /TASS/. The Spanish National Police Corps carried out an operation, in which four people have been detained on charges of money laundering, including three Russian nationals, its press release said on Thursday.

According to the police, "a former top official from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation" was detained in Vienna. Besides, his former wife and son, both Russian nationals, have been arrested in Spain.

"The key suspect" was arrested in Austria by Austrian police officers in cooperation with the Spanish National Police Corps "in carrying out a European arrest warrant" issued by a court in Marbella.

"Also a Spanish lawyer from Marbella was arrested," the police specified. They all were detained over suspected money laundering during the purchase of costly properties in Marbella, the press release explained. A total of four million euro was paid, and the sum is "believed to have been obtained as a result of tax violations and corruption committed in Russia."

"Investigators of the National Police Corps worked closely with Austrian and Russian police in order to clarify all circumstances," the press release went on to say. A cottage in Marbella, a vehicle and 160,000 euro have been seized, it added.

The probe was launched in July 2018, when the Russian authorities requested information about a major tax fraud that the key suspect could have committed in Russia. The Russian authorities issued an international arrest warrant against the former official. In one case, he was tried in connection to the embezzlement of about $7.2 million earmarked for construction work in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, the Spanish police specified.

Another corruption case is being looked into over "an embezzlement case of $2.6 million intended for work on architectural heritage monuments in different regions of Russia."