By H. Carter

SPANISH High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon flew into Palma yesterday to question the four suspected members of a Russian Mafia arrested on Friday in Calvia and Palma.

Security was extremely tight at the Palma High Court as the four suspects, including the alleged Russian Mafia boss Gennadios Petrov and his personal secretary Ioilia Ermolenko, were interviewed by Garzon who launched an investigation into the activities of the Russian Mafia in Spain two years ago and gave the green light for 400 heavily armed police to launch Operation Troika early on Friday morning.

At least 30 arrest warrants have been issued and 21 suspects were arrested in various parts of Spain. While Garzon was interviewing Petrov and co. in Palma, the other 17 suspects were being interviewed in Madrid, Malaga and Alicante and the security forces said that the operation is still “live” and the investigation open.

Petrov was arrested at his luxury waterfront mansion of Sol de Mallorca just after 6am on Friday and yesterday afternoon Garzon ordered that the four Majorca suspects be transferred to Madrid for further questioning.

Petrov is alleged to be the head of the Tambovkaya-Malyshevskaya Mafia which is named after a town near St Petersburg.
Members of the National Police and the Guardia Civil serious crime squads yesterday continued searching the five properties stormed in Majorca on Friday. Apparently, bank accounts holding 12 million euros have been frozen, thousands of euros seized in cash and a signed painting by Salvador Dali dated 1949 also confiscated.

According to sources close to the investigation, the Mafia set up its logistical and financial base in Majorca and on the mainland an estimated 12 years ago and from here controlled its illegal activities in Russia and a number of former Soviet states.


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