[OZ] From Russia with hate
Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:29pm
From Russia with hate
EXCLUSIVE By CHARLES MIRANDA
April 11, 2005
POLICE have identified up to 50 Russian organised crime figures in Sydney establishing bases for white-collar fraud, money laundering, child pornography and drug trafficking.
One criminal figure is a 50-year-old Russian tourist who has been using a US passport to visit Australia and establish links with a well-known Kings Cross underworld figure.
The latest criminal alliance has sparked concerns within both NSW Police and the Australian Federal Police into the expanding influence of Russian organised crime in Australia, particularly in Sydney's eastern beaches.
The Kings Cross underworld figure, who police suspect uses some members of the Bandido outlaw motorcycle gang for debt collection and drug distribution, was shot at years ago for trying to establish links with Asian crime groups.
The American-Russian has strong links with the North European ecstasy market and late last year was plotting with local Sydney identities to bring in a large amount of amphetamines and other drugs.
The Daily Telegraph has learned that another "coalition" of Russian criminals, linked to the former Soviet Union's KGB spy group, has been extorting money from gambling and other financial internet-based sites after threatening them with crippling viruses.
Amounts of between $20,000 and $40,000 have been sought from each company.
Russian groups have even been trying to defraud the Federal Government's own trade commission Austrade to establish bogus front companies and receive export benefits and assistance.
In the first admission of the extent of the problem, The Daily Telegraph has learned details of a confidential Australian Federal Police intelligence report that says Russian organised crime is involved in heroin supply, complex fraud, murder, extortion, false passports, prostitution, internet child pornography and foreign acquisition and takeovers of genuine companies to launder monies.
"The above offences are in relation to suspected ROC [Russian organised crime] individuals based in Australia," the report states.
Up to $60 million is understood to have been laundered in Australia by Russians using bogus offshore "banks" in Pacific nations such as Nauru, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The murder is believed to relate to the 2000 execution style killing in the Gold Coast of former KGB colonel Geunnadi Bernovski.
The report cites joint investigations with the FBI in the US and New Zealand police.
It states there are "coalitions of people of Eastern European descent" whose criminal activities run from Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.