Russian ‘mobster’ to be extradited

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THE Russian authorities have to extradite businessman Leonid Kaplan, a member of the Russian mafia, to Spain to face money laundering charges. A Moscow court has rejected his appeal against the extradition. Thirty-five-year-old Kaplan, who also holds US citizenship under the name Leon Lann, is allegedly a member of a Russian-Georgian mafia operating in Spain.

In 2003 he illegally obtained a Russian passport and had been in the country since 2009, until he was arrested in Moscow in March 2010 on an international arrest warrant from Interpol, as he was wanted by the Spanish, US and Russian authorities.

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The Russian Federal Security Service described Kaplan as one of the “most heinous” figures in international organized crime, and said he is believed to belong to the same Russian-Georgian mafia clan as kingpin Zajar Kalashov, arrested in Dubai in 2006.

Both were arrested in 2005 during an operation investigating the laundering of money from illegal casinos in Russia spent on properties in Spain.

National Court magistrate, Fernando Andreu, travelled to Russia last year during an investigation into an international money laundering operation, and requested his extradition.


According to Kaplan’s lawyer, Marina Yarosh, her client was taken out of hospital, where he was receiving treatment for cancer, to attend the hearing, despite protests from his doctors, and without informing the lawyers.

She has also said that she will appeal the extradition in the Russian Supreme Court.

By Jennifer Leighfield.


 

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