According to different media sources, German authorities seized properties worth EUR 50 million and millions more in cash in an enforcement action linked to a big Russian money laundering scheme. This so-called “Russian Laundromat” is said to be the largest money laundering scheme in history. Up to 22 billion dollars could have been laundered from Russia via banks to Latvia and Moldova. The Russian Laundromat was originally exposed by the investigative platform OCCRP.
Trasta Komercbank (TBK)
At the center of the investigations allegedly is a senior manager of the Latvian bank Trasta Komercbanka, TBK for short. The credit institution had already been wound up by the banking supervisory authority in Riga in 2016 for criminal transactions. The affair evidently has reached the highest circles: last year the President of the Latvian Central Bank was arrested for accepting bribes, and a relative of President Vladimir Putin is said to be involved in Russia.
German Enforcement Action
Now German investigators under the leadership of the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office struck. Four properties in Bavaria and Hessen were confiscated by the authorities on Monday. They are to have a total value of around 40 million euros. Two more properties were also secured in Nuremberg and Regensburg. Both have a value of about ten million euros, according to a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office on nordbayern.de demand said. It remains unclear, however, which properties are actually involved. “The investigation is underway,” said the spokeswoman. Some 6.7 million euros was also seized from German banks and another 1.2 million euros from a Latvian bank.
According to the OCCRP research, Russian illicit money flowed to more than 5,000 companies worldwide in almost 100 countries.
Federal investigators and Munich prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday the enforcement action came after three years of investigations. Prosecutors allege “income from money laundering in connection with the so-called Russian Laundromat was invested in high-value real estate” in Germany.