The Mar i Pins in Paguera, bought as a way of "cleaning" money. | Archive


The annual report by the state prosecution service reveals ongoing concern about organised groups that are engaged in money laundering in the Balearics. It refers to the initiation of proceedings against criminal groups, the majority of which are foreign, who seek to launder their gains in the islands. The service also draws attention to a lack of personnel for dealing with economic crimes.

There have, nevertheless, been some well-publicised cases, such as those involving the Hells Angels and the Russian mafia bosses Gennadios Petrov and Alexander Romanov. The Mar i Pins Hotel in Paguera was a vehicle for Romanov to "clean" some of his money.

A classic case was the "Operación Relámpago" (lightning bolt) which involved a law firm in Palma that was laundering money. More recently there was the trial of a financier from the United Arab Emirates. He went before the Audiencia Nacional for having laundered money in Majorca that had come from scams committed in Macao and Malaysia.

A separate report by the Guardia Civil a few months ago drew attention to property transactions in Majorca that were for prices well above market values. Behind these transactions would typically be cash payments to try and "legalise" and cover up money gained from criminal activities in foreign countries.

The state prosecution service notes that three proceedings were started in the Balearics last year for money laundering.