Georgian crime gang boss arrested in Dubai

Filed on May 9, 2006

MADRID Ė Dubai police have arrested a suspected Georgian crime gang leader on a Spanish warrant, Spainís Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.

Zahar Knyazevich Kalashov was arrested in Dubai on Sunday coming out of a party that was attended by other Georgian and Russian criminal gang members, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry described Kalashov as one of the most dangerous and important bosses of Russian and Georgian crime organizations, the ministry said. Kalashov fled Spain last year.

Police in Dubai confirmed the arrest but declined to give any details.

Spainís National Court has begun proceedings to have Kalashov extradited.

Spanish police had been searching for Kalashov since arresting 28 suspected gang members last year. They were accused of money laundering, fraud and other crimes.

In that operation, in June, more than 400 officers staged raids in 11 cities along Spainís Mediterranean coast. Some 40 homes and businesses were searched as part of the raids and 800 bank accounts frozen, the statement said.

The suspects allegedly laundered money from criminal activities in the former Soviet Union by investing it in real estate, restaurants, bars, luxury cars and other assets in Spain, the ministry said.

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