MOSCOW, February 22 - RAPSI. Law enforcement officers detained the alleged organizer of a criminal group that stole $671,780 in Gazprom shares, the Main Administration for Economic Security and Corruption Combat reported on its website on Wednesday.

According to the agency, shares worth 19.836 million rubles ($666,270) were stolen from three of the holding's shareholders.

The investigators believe the heads and employers of commercial banks and organizations may have also been involved in the theft.

Fake passports were issued under the names of the three shareholders, as well as fake transfer orders to gain control over the securities. The shares were signed over to a Ukrainian citizen, who worked with the gang. He then opened a custody account at a broker agency under the name of a Russian citizen whose passport he had in his possession.

The securities were subsequently sold on the international stock exchange, and the collected funds were divided among the members of the criminal gang.

The police detained a 50-year old businessman for organizing the crime scheme, as well as active members of the group. Their homes and places of work were searched and documents were seized confirming their illegal activity.

The investigation is underway.