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Spanish Police Arrest 19 Georgian Organized Crime Members in Raid

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, December 1
(MADRID) — In a large-scale raid against organized crime syndicates on Wednesday, Spanish police arrested 19 Georgian citizens accused of being mafia members.

The Spanish media reported that group allegedly controlled by Georgian criminal boss Kakhaber Shushanashvili, nicknamed as Kakhaber Rustavsky, a major underworld figure known for engaging in extortion, drug and human trafficking as well as identity theft.

Shushanashvili was previously sentenced to 20 years in a Spanish prison after being found guilty of conspiring to murder Georgian criminal boss Vladimir Dzhanashiya, also known as Lado, in Marseille, France in 2010.

Shushanashvili’s wife, who is no longer a Georgian citizen, was among those detained in the raid. According to her lawyer, she was also detained last year for money laundering charges but was released due to a lack of evidence.

The detainees are accused of being members of being part of a criminal gang who robs apartments and carried out huge money laundering schemes.

Georgia’s Interior Ministry has confirmed the arrests and said the raids too place at 13 different locations in Madrid, Barcelona and other Spanish cities.

Media reports in Spain said an investigation into the gang’s activities have been ongoing for nearly two years. Spanish law enforcement officials believe Shushanashvili’s gang is also operating in several other Western European countries.

Spain is known as a major center of activity for powerful organized crime gangs from the former Soviet Union, including Georgia. The groups use Madrid’s liberal immigration and residency policies to set up a base of operation for underworld activities that include money laundering, drug trafficking, prostitution and extortion.