Spanish officials to stand trial in Russian mafia case - report
MOSCOW, September 23 (RAPSI) – Catalonia’s High Court of Justice has ruled that there is sufficient cause to try Andrei Petrov, an alleged leader of the Russian mafia in Spain, local lawmaker Javier Crespo and other individuals suspected of involvement in the so-called Russian mafia case, El Mundo newspaper writes on Monday.
Russian émigré businessman Andrei Petrov was detained in Lloret de Mar in Costa Brava, Catalonia in January 2013 and charged with money laundering, forgery, and having corrupt relations with the local authorities.
The investigators suspect that 56 million euros were laundered through the local hockey club, which was sponsored by Petrov’s Diagnostic Development Company (DDC). DDC won several tenders for large construction projects in the resort town.
Javier Crespo, then the town’s mayor (2003-2011) and now a member of the Catalonian parliament from Convergence and Union, a Catalan nationalist electoral alliance, is suspected of accepting expensive gifts in return for ensuring concessions for large projects implemented by Petrov’s company.
The gifts included a EUR 2,200 watch for a birthday and a paid trip to Russia for Crespo’s wife and son, with a stay in a 5-star hotel and a helicopter excursion.
The prosecutors have asked the court to sentence Crespo to 2.5 years in prison, prohibit him from engaging in politics and holding public office, and fine him 831,000 euros.
Other suspects in the case are Crespo’s adviser and former deputy mayor for construction Josep Valls, former Lloret de Mar urban architect Pilar Gimeno, who is said to have been a mediator between Petrov and the city council, and former president of the city’s hockey club Joan Perarnau.
The court’s ruling against the defendants’ motion and recognition of “sufficient evidence of a criminal connection between Crespo and Petrov” and other individuals in the case mean that the trial will begin soon.
The investigators’ suspicions were fuelled by the incredible speed with which Petrov earned his income in the resort town. He came to Lloret de Mar in 2001, was hired to sell traditional Spanish sweetmeats and also drove a taxi in his free time. But three years later, in 2004, he established a property development company, Development Diagnostic Company SL. Petrov quickly found influential patrons in the city’s government, including Josep Valls.