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  Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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Russian lawyer has been detained by police in Spain in a major crackdown on the Russian and Georgian mafias
A Russian lawyer has been detained by police in Spain in a major crackdown on the Russian and Georgian mafias, a Spanish police spokesman said Thursday. Spanish police are conducting the second phase of a large-scale operation codenamed Operacion Avispa (Operation Hornet) targeting the Russian and Georgian mafias operating in the country. The spokesman for the National Police said information concerning the arrest of Alexander Gofstein, who arrived in Spain to meet with his client, also apprehended in the operation, has yet to be officially confirmed. The National Police press service reported Thursday that nine people were arrested Wednesday night, seven in Madrid and two in Malaga, including "a Russian lawyer, who arrived from Moscow for a meeting in the Soto del Real jail near Madrid with his client, Zakhar Kalashov," who is thought to be the head of the Georgian mafia. "Kalashov, who we think to be the head of Georgian mafia, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates and extradited to Spain in May," the spokesman said. The suspects are thought to have laundered the mafia's criminal money through legal businesses in Spain. The first phase of the operation yielded 31 arrests in Spain in June 2005, the spokesman said. "The ongoing operation is a continuation of Operation Hornet, conducted in June 2005," he said. "A total of 31 people, mainly Georgians, have been arrested in Barcelona, Alicante and Malaga, including 22 Georgian crime bosses," the spokesman said.
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