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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chaika to Create New Unit to Fight Money Laundering

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said Friday criminal businesses and money laundering posed a threat to the country's economic development and announced the creation of a special anti-corruption unit that will soon be set up within his office, Interfax reported.

"Money laundering conducted through the conclusion of deals and financial operations allows organized-crime groups to infiltrate the legal economy and even carry out illicit activities by producing new schemes for it," Chaika said at a meeting of law enforcement chiefs.

The anti-corruption unit would draw on experience from similar units in Spain, Chaika said.

"It wasn't incidental that I went on a recent trip to Spain," Interfax quoted Chaika as saying. Spain's efforts have won praise from the Council of Europe and the experience is now being applied in other European countries, he said.

Last year, the number of money laundering related crimes brought to light increased by 7 percent, and those committed by organized crime groups rose by one-third," Chaika said.

Almost 7 billion rubles ($270 million) in illegal incomes were laundered last year, Interfax reported, citing data from the prosecutor's office.

A total of 3,500 such criminal cases were sent to court, yet only few more than 500 people have been convicted, the statement said.

The authorities in charge of the investigations had not shown sufficient "initiative in exposing such crimes," it said.

Transparency International said in a report last month that Russian authorities had increased their influence over the country's judicial system over the past few years and had done little to tackle corruption in the courts.