A Georgian mafia leader was fined 20 million euros and sentenced to prison for seven and a half years for laundering at least 7.5 million euros ($9.11 million) on the Spanish coast, a court said on Tuesday.
Zakhar Kalashov, 57, was found guilty of money laundering by using businesses set up to buy and manage property, land and hotels, the court said.
He was not taken to jail because the court ruled that he had served part of his time awaiting trial and could by now be eligible for parole. But he is also wanted in Georgia after being sentenced to a nine-year prison sentence in 2006 for being part of the mafia there.
Spanish police could arrest and extradite him at any time on a court warrant, a judicial source said. It was not immediately clear when or whether that might happen.
"It now depends on the police. He's on the streets until they decide to arrest him," the source said.
Kalashov was a leading Vor v Zakone, the Russian title meaning "thief in law" given to mafia chiefs in the ex-Soviet Union, with control of gaming and casinos in the Russian federation, Spain's High Court said in its ruling.
"In order to hide the source of it (his wealth) and to grow it in an illicit way he invested large sums of money to satisfy his well-being and acquire property," the ruling said.
Five others were also found guilty of the laundering operations and given shorter prison sentences.
Six other suspects were cleared of all charges at the trial.
In recent years Spanish investigators have carried out a number of probes into mafia activities in Spain.
Last month, police in six European countries arrested 60 suspected members of a Georgian gang involved in drugs smuggling and money laundering, triggered by a Spanish inquiry.
ReutersLast Mod: 02 Haziran 2010, 01:11