Russian mafia laundering money through German property
German real estate is currently on the rise, but it is poorly controlled.
Russian mafia bosses have increased their dominance in Germany, Tagesspiegel wrote.
According to the publication, the criminals are primarily interested in the real estate sector since they can use it for money laundering. The industry is currently experiencing a real boom in the country, while control over it is still not sufficient, which allows legalizing significant "shadow" capitals.
Since 2009, the turnover in the German real estate sector has grown significantly, amounting to 236.5 billion euros in 2016. Due to the high volumes of transactions in the real estate, the industry is associated with risks, was the federal government’s response to the inquiry of Bundestag’s Green Party.
7% out of 536 mafia-related lawsuits for 2016 are about money laundering through real estate investments. According to Tagesspiegel, half of all those cases concern Russian and Italian mafia gangs. The paper named the Italian mafia group Ndrangheta as one that plays the biggest role there.
The recent Berliner Zeitung’s investigation in cooperation with the TV and radio company SWR has caused a public outcry. The report revealed large investments Russian oligarchs under sanctions make in Berlin real estate through intermediaries, for secrecy purposes.
German mass media revealed that the Russian businessman Arkady Rotenberg is associated with companies that buy German real estate in bulk. According to the data they published, the Berlin complex of buildings Kudamm-Karree with a shopping center, a high-rise building, theaters and offices, is associated with the Russian oligarch. The investigation mentions the opera house in Munich, the Stue Hotel in Berlin, the LES 1 office complex in Hamburg and the Sofitel Hotel in Frankfurt am Main. According to the journalists, the total worth of the real estate items belonging to Rotenberg is at least €1 billion, although the Russian billionaire denied that the property belonged to him.