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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

7 Suspects Jailed After Spanish Raid

MADRID, Spain -- Seven people were jailed in southeast Spain Monday on provisional charges related to money laundering allegedly linked to oil giant Yukos, the state news agency Efe reported.

Court hearings were pending for 33 others arrested last weekend in or near Marbella on the Mediterranean Sea in what police claim is the breakup of a major money-laundering ring. The 41st suspect, a woman, was released without bail after she was questioned.

Attorney General Candido Conde-Pumpido said the arrests were "the tip of the iceberg" of international organized crime that has made major inroads in Spain.

Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso described money laundering as "the backbone of organized crime."

"That's what it feeds off and allows it to go on installing itself in the free and open societies that we live in," he said. "For this reason, we simply have to fight with decisiveness against money laundering."

Most suspects arrived handcuffed at the Marbella court Monday, with their faces covered. Detainees' nationalities included Spanish, French, Moroccan, Finnish, Russian and Ukrainian, authorities said. None was identified by name.

The group allegedly laundered more than 250 million euros ($336 million) for gangs involved in murder, drug trafficking, arms dealing and prostitution in the Costa del Sol area. The arrests and alleged illegal activity were centered around Marbella.

On Saturday, the Interior Ministry said authorities suspect some of the money was illegally siphoned from Yukos. Large sums are thought to have been diverted from Yukos to a Dutch company and then reinvested in a Spanish unit. Yukos has denied reports that it might have been involved in money laundering in Spain.