Spain Seeks Arrest Of Duma Deputy

NtvReznik
Spanish authorities have issued an arrest warrant for State Duma Deputy Vladislav Reznik on suspicion of links with Russian organized crime, a Spanish police spokesman said Monday.

In an indication that Spain faces an uphill battle arresting Reznik, Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov fired back that any attempt to link Reznik to organized crime was part of a smear campaign against Russia.

Reznik, head of the Duma's Financial Markets Committee, enjoys immunity from prosecution in Russia because of his position as a deputy.

Spanish investigators are focusing on possible links between Reznik and purported Russian crime boss Gennady Petrov, who was arrested on the island of Mallorca in June, the police spokesman said by telephone from Mallorca.

Reznik is suspected of receiving money from a criminal group purportedly headed by Petrov, he said.

Spain's National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon issued the arrest warrant, the Spanish daily El Pais reported Monday. A high-profile figure, Garzon previously tried to have the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet jailed in Spain.

A court spokeswoman said by telephone from Madrid that she could not disclose further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Attempts to reach Reznik for comment were unsuccessful Monday.

Reznik said in a statement that he did not understand why Garzon had opened an investigation against him, and he released a copy of his 2004 tax declaration, which says he owns a 447-square-meter villa in the Mallorca resort of La Toro.

The villa, however, was not mentioned in the income and property declaration he was required to submit in October 2007 to run as a United Russia candidate in the Dec. 2 Duma elections, Kommersant reported Monday.

A key component of anti-corruption legislation submitted to the Duma this month by President Dmitry Medvedev is the increased oversight of incomes and assets of government officials.

Spanish police on Saturday raided Reznik's seafront villa in Mallorca, seizing documents, computers and artwork including paintings and sculptures. Several luxury cars had also been confiscated from the villa, named Casa Artemis, which was protected by a sophisticated security system, Spanish media reported.

All items seized from the villa have been sent to Madrid as possible evidence in a police investigation into Russian organized crime, the police spokesman said.

Citing unidentified police sources, the Mallorca newspaper Ultima Hora reported that Reznik and Petrov were linked through the villa.

Reznik bought the villa from Petrov at a "friend's price," the newspaper said.

Petrov is suspected of heading a crime group accused in Spain of a series of grave crimes, including money laundering, arms and drug trafficking, murder and kidnapping. He was arrested along with more than a dozen other suspects at his villa in Mallorca.

It was unclear whether Spanish authorities were investigating the legality of Reznik's purchase of the villa. But Reznik told Itar-Tass on Monday that the house "was bought in strict compliance with Russian and Spanish laws."

"The money was transferred from a bank account in Moscow, and the purchase was declared," he said.

Gryzlov criticized the investigation as unfounded. "This is not the first time that, by using the old broken record about the so-called Russian mafia, Russian politicians and businessmen become targets of inexplicable claims by foreign law enforcement authorities," Gryzlov said, Interfax reported.

Reznik has been a Duma deputy since 1999. From 1995 to 1998, he served as chairman of the state insurance company Rosgosstrakh. From 1987 to 1989, he was owner and general director of the Rus Insurance Company and served as deputy chairman of Rossiya Bank.

He also served on the boards of various banks, insurance companies and businesses.