By Sally Underwood • 28 January 2021 • 13:23
Foiled: Police bring down extortion gang in Malaga. Image: Policia Nacional
Police have arrested seven people on charges of extortion, money laundering and organised crime in Malaga and Madrid after the gang allegedly posed as a legal organisation and offering to prevent their victims from facing prosecution in exchange for a payment of €500,000.
According to media reports, the group posed as a company capable or bringing about criminal proceedings in Russia. They allegedly called Russian citizens by telephone, using falsified documents to make them believe they were facing prosecution.
The group even claimed to have access to police databases and to be acting as intermediaries for the Russian authorities, before claiming prosecution would be dropped if their victim paid the large sum of money.
The scams are thought to have originated in Malaga and Madrid and police investigations began in 2019 after receiving a tip off to an organised crime gang in Malaga Province.
According to police, the gang carried out “thorough” research into the backgrounds of their victims, finding out their personal and professional information, as well as learning about criminal procedural processes in Russia.
To persuade their victims to hand over cash, the group allegedly showed them falsified police reports addressed to a Spanish judge and claiming their target was under investigation.
A member of the gang is even said to have travelled from Russia to Madrid to secretly meet with people close to the victims to give them instructions on how to make the €500,000 payment.
Police lay in wait at one meeting, however, arresting a suspect who had just collected €20,000 in cash from one victim.
After investigating further, police carried out raids on homes in Marbella, Estepona and Mijas, as well as Madrid, confiscating more than 30 mobile phones, €45,000 in cash, four luxury vehicles, as well as jewellery, watches and designer handbags.
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