Russian mafia to avoid Spanish justice
Top manager of AFK Sistema and one of the alleged leaders of Solntsevskaya gang Arnold Spivakovsky (Tamm), detained two months ago in Spain, had real chances to leave the Spanish prison soon. As it became known to The CrimeRussia, the foundation for the defensive strategy was unwittingly laid by the Civil Guard of Spain, carrying out the operation Oligarch and spreading a deliberately false report on the seizure of an arsenal of firearms during searches at suspects.
A loud case about the laundering of Russian mafia’s tens of millions of euros in Spain could collapse. The advocacy campaign to save Russian citizens, who were arrested on suspicion of ties with Solntsevskaya and Izmaylovskaya gangs, from Spanish justice has already begun.
Currently, of the 11 detainees arrested during September operation of the Civil Guard four main suspects remain in the prison of the city of Alhaurín de la Torre in Malaga. They are owner of the football club Marbella Alexander Grinberg, main shareholder of the water production plant Agua de Mijas Oleg Kuznetsov, investment director of the same enterprise Sergey Dozhdev and one of the alleged leaders of the Solntsevskaya gang, Arnold Arnoldovich Spivakovsky aka Tamm.
Law enforcers detained Spivakovsky in the Costa del Sol during his holidays. Local media called him "the most important Russian mobster ever detained in Spain," vigorously informing of his close ties with Interpol and FBI wanted Semyon Mogilevich - perhaps the most odious Russian gangster in the eyes of the modern Western world.
Villa of Oleg Kuznetsov in Marbella, where Arnold Spivakovsky was detained
The Spanish Civil Guard officially reported on the day after the series of detentions on the successful operation, telling about the security arrest of 23 luxury cars worth up to 300 thousand euros each, as well as a large number of jewelry and cash seized from suspects during operational activities. According to the updated data, law enforcement officers arrested 67 mansions during the investigation and blocked more than 100 bank accounts of suspects. In addition, it was reported about four yachts and 250 thousand euros in cash, seized during the operation.
Xenios and Arbat - yachts of Oleg Kuznetsov and Alexander Grinberg
A special place in the message of the Civil Guard was given to the arsenal of automatic firearms that had been seized in one of the houses. Photo and video of the weapon room with the pistol-machine guns fixed on the wall, assault and sniper rifles and automatic weapons of the most advanced military developments, were spread by Spanish and world media. It was reported that the confiscated weapons were sent to a ballistic examination, which was to check them for involvement in committing crimes in the territory of Spain.
On September 28, together with three other defendants of the case, the Marbella court arrested Arnold Spivakovsky without the right to release on bail.
Russian businessman Sergey Mikhailov, whom the media called the leader of Solntsevskaya gang nicknamed Mikhas, commented on the arrest the next day.
The operation Oligarch, during which Spivakovsky and 10 other Russians were detained, was named a Western tendency to "destroy Russian people and everything connected with them". He also expressed complete confidence that, for lack of evidence, all accusations against his "counterpart" would soon "dissipate like smoke" and Spivakovsky would be released.
And the prophecy of Mikhas, who won the legal battle with Swiss justice in the 90's and surrendered 800 thousand francs from Switzerland for two years of illegal detention in prison, seems to come true.
Defense goes on the offensive
According to El Espanol, at the end of November Spivakovsky's lawyers voiced protest against the unfounded detention of "a respected top manager of one of the largest Russian companies." Arnold Spivakovsky himself (by the way, PhD in Law) said that in the charges brought against him there is not a single point indicating his involvement in the incriminated acts, the newspaper writes.
Arnold Spivakovsky in 2002
According to Spivakovsky himself, all charges against him are absurd. Thus, the court decision on the arrest refers to the laundering of criminal funds by Spivakovsky in cooperation with another detained Russian Oleg Kuznetsov, but neither facts, nor a description of the money-laundering scheme that the suspects could use are given. Arnold Spivakovsky recognized his friendly relations with Kuznetsov, his defense confirms. "But the fact of the friendship is not a proof of a crime of any kind," the lawyers resent.
Arnold Arnoldovich Spivakovsky (formerly Tamm) was a ‘criminal authority that belonged to the leadership of Solntsevskaya gang, occupying a place in its hierarchy right after the brothers Averin, Sergey Mikhailov and Semyon Mogilevich, according to the Interpol version and operational information of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs of the 1990s. Since the mid-90s, Spivakovsky has become a legal businessman and senior employee of several companies. He held the posts of deputy director of the customs terminal Irbis, public relations adviser to Secretary of the Union State of Russia and Belarus Pavel Borodin, deputy general director of the Pekin Hotel, chairman of the GC Kosmos OJSC board of directors, headed of the Intourist board of directors. At the time of his detention in Spain, he was a senior officer of the AFK Sistema division - Segezha Group. Arnold Spivakovsky was never tried, although he had been repeatedly detained along with other Solntsevskaya gang ‘authorities’, as well as on the high-profile case of cocaine trafficking in the Moscow club Dolls. In the circles of the Moscow operatives there was a version about Spivakovsky's involvement in the murder of Pekin Hotel director Konstantin Georgiev (Kostya Osetin).
Arnold Spivakovsky's lawyers also expressed their indignation at the inclusion of their client in the organized crime bosses circle, noting that he had no criminal record, he had awards from official departments and ministries of the Russian Federation for charitable activities (Arnold Spivakovsky, according to the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities, is the founder of two charitable foundations) as well as his impressive employment history.
The most delirious accusation against Spivakovsky is a connection of Solntsevskaya gang with AFK Sistema, referring to police documents, noting that the company is the largest investor in the real sector of the Russian economy (oil industry, telecommunications health), which, according to lawyers, is controlled by government structures of the Russian Federation.
Meanwhile, representatives of AFK Sistema, in which structures Arnold Spivakovsky worked for almost 20 years, did not say a word about his arrest in Spain. The company's information service only confirmed that he is its managing staff member, but no other reaction from AFK Sistema to Spivakovsky's detention by Spanish law enforcement officers was followed. Russian law enforcement agencies and government structures keep a dead silence, which, according to Arnold Spivakovsky's lawyers, has been repeatedly awarded to him.
Also, the defense of the AFK Sistema top manager declares multiple violations and mistakes during the investigation conducted by the Civil Guard, on the basis of which they intend to appeal the court decision on Arnold Spivakovsky's imprisonment. As evidence of violations and frank blunders in the work of the investigation, lawyers cite a scandalous story with seized arsenal, which in fact proved to be fake.
Airsoft as Solntsevskaya gang used to play
A still from the video of the Spanish Civil Guard
Already on the third day after the popular report of the Civil Guard it became known that the very "arsenal for a small war", the "seizure" of which the gendarmes celebrated, was nothing more than an exact imitation of real weapons, replicas for paintball and airsoft belonging to the son of one of the suspects.
Strikeball (in the West better known as Airsoft) is a command military sports game using exact copies of real firearms operating on the principle of soft pneumatics (the permitted muzzle energy is not more than 3J). The game originated in Japan after World War II, when the Japanese were forbidden to have automatic weapons. In Europe, airsoft spread in the 1980s, in Russia - a decade later. For shooting, plastic balls with a caliber of 6-8 mm, which do not contain colored pigments distinguishing the game from paintball, are used. The main types of airsoft weapons are electro-pneumatic, gas, spring-piston and airborne under high pressure. In Spain, there are currently over 20.000 active players in airsoft. Officially, replicas for airsoft are considered weapons of the fourth category because of low power. They are issued on the owner on the so-called weapon map (Tarjeta de Armas).
Andrey Prokopenkov, the son of the club Marbella vice-president partner Herman Pastushenko, told El Confidencial that weapons and ammunition for airsoft were not actually seized. After inspecting the weapons room in the basement of the house and checking the accompanying permits, the gendarmes left empty-handed.
Andrey Prokopenkov in the same weapons room and his permission to replicas for airsoft
The Malaga Hoy edition stated citing sources close to the investigation that during the searches, the suspects had only one non-functional pistol withdrawn, which law-enforcers deemed fit to be used for re-shooting live ammunition. At the same time, Spanish policemen photographed of weapons room of a 24-year-old student of law faculty and distributed them with other materials in the press.
According to lawyer of several Russian families of Marbella Jose Francisco Ruiz, the stuffing in the media of obviously untrue information accompanied by shots of sham weapons was made with the aim of exaggerating the results of their work by the police leadership.
The same gun
“The operation against the alleged Russian mafia has crossed all permissible limits. The investigation of the Civil Guard raises serious doubts, and they must be clarified by the competent authorities," said Jose Francisco Ruiz.
Andrey Prokopenkov is fond of airsoft since 2006 and spends a lot of money on his hobby
It should be noted that the second program point of the Mikhas’ prophecy on the operation of the Civil Guard is also coming true - the Russian-speaking population of Marbella openly reports Russophobia.
Many Russian-speaking inhabitants of Marbella have suffered from operation Oligarch. According to the Spanish media, in the structures of entrepreneurs Kuznetsov and Grinberg a lot of visitors from Eastern Europe worked - from key employees of the enterprises under their control to domestic workers, personal drivers and crewmembers of their yachts. In addition, the freezing of assets and accounts of key suspects directly affected the well being of their employees; Marbella says that the operation Oligarch has equated the Russian-speaking diaspora and Russian mafia.
In particular, the vice-president of FC Marbella, Herman Pastushenko - one of the suspects, whom the court left at large, taking into account the high degree of Pastushenko’s integration in the Spanish society (he lives in Marbella for over 18 years), states it with indignation. According to Pastushenko, in addition to football he deals with the construction business; due to the arrest of his accounts, he cannot pay his workers' salaries.
In addition, Pastushenko said that the detentions and searches were carried out with many violations of the civil rights of the suspects. Owner of the toy arsenal Andrey Prokopenkov, who told how the gendarmes of the Civil Guard staged a pogrom in his house, ripping couches searching for weapons and valuables, confirms his words. Officers, he said, illegally seized non-password-protected computers, which could be seized only if access to their content is provided after entering the password.
Ruslan Grinberg with Askar Akaev and Mikhail Shvydkoy
Currently, lawyer Jose Francisco is preparing several lawsuits against the various state institutions upon numerous violations during searches at representatives of the Russian diaspora of Marbella and other cities on the Costa del Sol. Lawyers of FC Marbella owner, Alexander Grinberg, who is in prison, do not stay idle. Unlike Spivakovsky, the fate of Alexander Grinberg is intriguing for Russian human rights activists. His father, who is confident of his innocence and is the director of the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Ruslan Grinberg, partakes in his fate. Alexander Grinberg is also actively supported by his football club Marbella, which the Russian businessman saved several years ago from complete burst-up.
Fans of FC Marbella support the president of the club
Direct evidence of the businessman's partaking in laundering of criminal proceeds does not exist, otherwise it would appear in the charge against him. According to Grinberg's lawyer Roman Bazoev, the only evidence of any business connections between Grinberg and Oleg Kuznetsov, which the law-enforcers have, is the contract between FC Marbella and the Agua de Mijas plant for the provision of two billboards at the stadium. In return this plant, he said, supplied water to players and personnel.
As El Confidencial writes, Alexander Grinberg's defense has already filed an appeal against his arrest, in which there are 700 pages about his business activities. Only time will tell the truth. The CrimeRussia will monitor the development of the case.