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Russian police shut down 200 companies in 2006 which had funded criminal groups
Russian police shut down 200 companies in 2006 which had funded criminal groups, Deputy Interior Minister Oleg Safonov, in charge of criminal police, said in an interview with the newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta published on Wednesday. "Organized crime eyes regions with developed economy, transport hubs, and large natural resources; because one can successfully launder money there in a short time," Safonov said. "It's particularly acute at present, as some regions will be overwhelmed with huge budgets to develop various economic directions and the social sphere. "Overwhelmed" because, regrettably, some projects are understaffed and lack many other conditions, and criminals see their chance in it. So the most difficult situation is developing in the Moscow region, the Far East, the Volga region and the North Caucasus," the deputy interior minister said. But the process of decriminalization of economic facilities and removing them from the influence of criminal groups has already been launched. We've stopped the activity of 200 companies which funded criminal groups; it's a very painful blow to them," he noted. "Organized crime ceases to exist without financial support; so they're trying to use the most effective method - raiding /seizure of companies/," Safonov went on to say. "For example, we recently opened a criminal case against director of a commercial firm who had arranged the seizure of nine former collective farms in the Moscow region," he noted. As of now, there are 446 organized gangs in Russia, according to Safonov. The police official underlined that law-enforcement bodies closely watch all these groups. "Nine of them, which have international ties, are tracked by the Department for combating organized crime and terrorism under the Russian Interior Ministry. The operations and search bureaus in provinces track another 50 gangs with regional ties, and organized crime units in regions combat the remaining groups," Safonov said. Answering a question about criminal leaders who control gangs, he said "just 184 people have the so-called status of "thief-in-law" /criminal boss/, while another several hundred criminals, though they allege to belong to this elite group, are in fact impostors." As present, 40 criminal leaders are in prison. "We detained another 44 for committing crimes last year. Of those, 33 were arrested and two were expelled from Russia," the deputy interior minister said.
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