The Spanish National Court has acquitted 17 people accused of laundering money for the Russian mafia in Spain. Among the acquitted are the tax advisors, accountants and secretaries of Gennadios Petrov, Viktor Gabrilenkoz and Serguei Kouzmine, the leaders of the Tambovskaya-Malishevskaya mafia clans.
The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office requested sentences up to five years in prison for the crimes of illicit association and money laundering. However, the court ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that those arrested in the operation, codenamed ‘Troika’, “provide their cooperation or professional assistance” to launder illicit money belonging to the criminal organisations, one of which is based in St. Petersburg.
It was established in the court that Petrov, Gabrilenkov and Kouzmine, all of whom were tried in absentia, settled in Marbella in 1996 where they developed their economic activities. According to the judges, “they all knew and developed business activities, created mercantile companies and received capital from open bank accounts in different countries that was invested in Spain, for which they sometimes had the legal, accounting and tax advisory services of professionals and the assistance of Russian-language translators and secretaries.”
“The owners of the social networks for which they worked were citizens of Russian origin, with significant economic means and who invested in Spain money that, sometimes, came from tax havens”, explained the court, adding that while all of this was true it was insufficient grounds to prove money laundering.
“It has not been proven that the defendants we are judging belong to the Tambovskaya and Malyshevskaya mafias, or to another criminal association dedicated to laundering assets obtained by the criminal activity of those two. Neither has it been demonstrated that the defendants participated in the businesses of which they are accused, knowing that they were acquiring, possessing, using or transmitting goods that originated in a crime or that were concealing the illicit origin of any good”, the judges said in their ruling.