Spanish Police Detain 19 Georgian Mafia Members

Catalan regional police and Spanish National Police arrested 23 people on Wednesday morning in a joint operation against the Georgian mafia in Barcelona and Madrid. As reported, 19 out of the detained are Georgian gangsters.

The Spanish media reports that the operation, named Naples, saw raids carried out at 12 different addresses against an organization robbing flats and houses and laundering stolen money and goods through a series of companies or sending it directly abroad.

Operation Naples has been ongoing for almost two years and as reported by media, among the detainees there was a woman, who is thought to be the wife of leading “thief-in-law” Kakhaber Shushanashvili (Kakha Rustavsky).

The detainees, according to local law enforcement, are members of the group helmed by Rustavsky, who was engaged in money laundering in Eastern Europe and now is in prison for various charges, including money laundering, murder, fraud and illegal possession of arms.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) stated they were involved in a large-scale anti-mafia operation in Madrid, Catalonia and several other locations in Spain.

“As a result of active cooperation between the Central Criminal Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and the Police Attaché of the MIA to the Kingdom of Spain, an organized group of criminals was detained in Spain. 19 of 23 arrested are citizens of Georgia,” the ministry confirmed.

Around two weeks ago, the Georgian MIA also confirmed the information released by the French media about the detention of a 35-member criminal group, among them 26 Georgians.

The MIA stated that among the detained Georgians, five were so “thieves-in-law”.

The main allegations towards the detained group members are robbery, extortion and smuggling.

Foreign media reported that the police revealed one particular scheme of money laundering used by the criminals: the registering of construction companies.

French media reported that the detainees allegedly robbed houses and shops, also stealing cars and jewelry.

Police found EUR 70 thousand while searching the houses of the detained. EUR 200 thousand was seized from their bank accounts.

Searches in the framework of the Naples operation also took place in the Italian region of Calabria, where some of the detainees owned real estate.

Thea Morrison

30 November 2017 18:10