Russian Mafia Laundered EUR 1 B through Bulgarian Firm - Report

Crime | January 5, 2009, Monday // 00:00

The Sofia-headquartered firm Optima Ka Single Member Ltd was used to channel over EUR 1 B money by the Russian mafia in less than a year, the 24 Chasa Daily reported Monday.

The money was channeled through the company, and was deposited into Bulgarian banks. Some EUR 500 M were transferred to a financial company in Estonia, where the cash was withdrawn.

Most of the money belonged to organized crime groups from St. Petersburg, which used the channel to launder it, to evade taxes, and to execute illegal financial operations, according to the 24 Chasa Daily, which cites investigation data from Russia.

The investigation, which is going on in Bulgaria, is secret. Two persons were detained in Bulgaria on May 23, 2008, for this case - Elizabet Elena Von Messing and Dmitriy Abramkin. Von Messing is a Russian with Finish citizenship, and Abramkin had acted as her proxy. The court hearings on the detention of the two Russians are not open to the public.

Von Messing was the owner and manager of the Optima Ka Single Member Ltd, whose bank accounts were used to channel over EUR 1 B of money transfers coming from Russia. The firm's head office is located in downtown Sofia, at Vasil Levski 3 Blvd, but is currently sealed.

The Bulgarian prosecutors have charged Von Messing and Abramkin with money laundering and illegal financial transactions of about EUR 500 M by the Bulgarian prosecutors.

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