OCCRP: Selected Daily News Articles

Note: These stories were written over a six-month period as part of a reporting internship with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina. All stories are the property of the OCCRP; original links have been provided.

Russia/Ukraine: US Sanctions Hit Putin’s Crimea Bridge 

2 September 2016

The US Treasury on Thursday sanctioned 37 people and entities linked to Russia and Ukraine – including companies connected to a bridge championed by President Vladimir Putin – in an effort to beat the busting of sanctions imposed on Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014.

Seven of the companies sanctioned by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were linked to the construction of a bridge over the Kerch Strait between the Crimean Peninsula and the Russian mainland. The companies include SGM-Most OOO, a Russian contractor owned by a previously sanctioned pipeline construction company.

Italy: Authorities Done with Corleone’s Council 

12 August 2016

Italy’s government has dissolved the entire council of the Sicilian town of Corleone – made famous by the “Godfather” films and books – on suspicion of Mafia infiltration.

The hometown of the fictional Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro, was one of four local governments dismissed by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday for suspected organized crime activity, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Finland: Dark Web Operation Exposed 

29 August 2016

Finnish police arrested three people and seized more than €1.1 million (US$ 1.2 million) worth of drugs in a crackdown on an online narcotics operation described as the country’s biggest to date, authorities announced Friday.

The network is alleged to have imported €2 million (US$ 2.2 million) worth of drugs between 2014 and 2016, selling them on the dark web site Silkkitie.

Russia: U.S Court Convicts Son of Lawmaker for Credit Card Hacking

26 August 2016 

A court in the United States convicted the son of a Russian lawmaker on Thursday for hacking attacks that stole nearly 1.7 million credit card numbers, in a case that has drawn sharp criticism of US “kidnapping” from Russia’s government.

Roman Seleznev, the son of Russian member of parliament Valery Seleznev, was convicted by a district court jury in Washington state on 38 counts of charges including wire fraud, identity theft, and obtaining information from a protected computer. Seleznev is scheduled to be sentenced on 2 December, and faces a reported maximum of 34 years in prison.

Russia: St. Petersburg “Night Governor” Gets 23 Years for Assassination Attempt 

19 August 2016

A court in the Russian city of St. Petersburg sentenced a reputed leader of the notorious Tambovskaya criminal group to 23 years in prison on Thursday for the attempted assassination of a businessman.

Vladimir Barsukov, also known as Vladimir Kumarin, was convicted of murder and attempted murder for the 2006 attempt on the life of Sergei Vasilyev, an owner of the Petersburg Oil Terminal transportation company.

Russia: Journalist Grigory Pasko Beaten

27 September 2016

Russian journalist Grigory Pasko was beaten by unknown men on Tuesday in what appeared to be a planned attack, he said on social media.

Pasko was set upon by two men on the street in the city of Barnaul in the early morning and told to leave town, witness Arkady Babchenko said in a Facebook post.

Montenegro: Gangster Shot Dead by Sniper in Prison Yard

26 September 2016 

A prominent Montenegrin gangster was assassinated by a sniper in the yard of a high-security prison, local authorities said Friday, in the latest killing in a bloody gang war in the tiny Balkan country.

Dalibor Djuric, a reputed member of the Skaralji clan from the seaside tourist town of Kotor was shot in the chest on Thursday evening while outdors in the yard of the Spuz state prison in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica. He was pronounced dead at a local medical center shortly afterward.

Israel: Police Bust Network Trafficking the Disabled 

23 August 2016

Israeli police arrested six people on Monday for allegedly trafficking speech and hearing impaired people from Eastern Europe and forcing them to beg on the streets.

The six people were arrested in the coastal town of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, for coercing and blackmailing their victims into work. All six suspects were Israeli, local media reported.

France: Production Lines — Cocaine Found at Coca-Cola Factory 

1 September 2016

French authorities have launched an investigation after 370 kilograms of cocaine was found in a Coca-Cola plant in the southern French town of Signes, media reported Wednesday. The company – which has not included cocaine in its signature recipe for about a century – has labeled the discovery “a very bad surprise.”

The cocaine, valued at roughly €50 million (US$ 55 million), was found stashed in a container of orange concentrate originating from Costa Rica that was delivered to the plant on Friday. Police seized the drugs after being notified by factory employees.

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