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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ministry, FBI Sign Deal on Cooperation

The Russian and U.S. law enforcement bodies agreed Tuesday to an exchange of information to help fight organized crime in both countries but postponed the opening of an FBI office in Moscow. Russian Interior Minister Viktor Yerin said at the signing ceremony the exchange of information would be "very wide" and would cover the activities of organized crime groups and individual criminals operating internationally. "From now on we will have constant contacts with the FBI," Yerin said, adding that his ministry would also send officers to the United States on police training courses. FBI director Louis Freeh welcomed the plans to work together against what he called a common enemy. "Organized crime around the world is not different," Freeh said. "This is our transnational enemy." Freeh said Russian mafia gangs were involved in the United States in drug-trafficking, tax and bank frauds, kidnapping and murders. According to Interior Ministry statistics, there are 150 Russian mafia gangs operating all over the world with 24 of them in the United States. Yury Reshetnik, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the planned opening of an FBI office in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had been postponed because of "technical problems." "But it does not mean there are problems between us and the FBI," Reshetnik said. "These technical problems have no bearing on our friendly relations." Michael McClellan, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, said the delay in opening the office in Moscow had been caused because of "problems with premises." He also said the installation of new computer systems would take some time. Mikhail Yegorov, first deputy interior minister, told the Moscow Times there were 40 economic crime cases currently being investigated by the Russian and American services. The ministry had supplied documents about six Russian suspects sheltering in the United States, Yegorov said. "The next step is the creation of joint special anti-terrorist units to fight organized crime in both countries," he said