The National Police and Civil Guard of Spain have dismantled a criminal organisation based in Toledo and Madrid that laundered more than 70 million euros for other criminal groups, according to a statement by the Spanish police.
In the operation, the security forces arrested 28 people, 22 of them in Spain and six in the Netherlands.
In addition, agents investigated 29 companies, froze more than 70 real estate and banking assets and recovered seven firearms and a hundred vehicles. More than 140 telephones and computer equipment has also been seized.
The organisation reportedly charged a commission of between 10%–15% to launder money on behalf of Asian groups involved in fraud against public finances and Colombian drug trafficking gangs.
The group laundered the money through a network of businesses in the import and export and property sectors that were headed by frontmen who were paid to lend their name to the companies.
The Netherlands-based Colombian group were connected to the seizure of more than 5,000 kilos of cocaine that entered the country through the port of Antwerp. They are also suspected of investing more than two million euros in property in Toledo and Madrid.
The organisations from Asian countries that used the money laundering services did so mainly for committing fraud and evading tax. One of the methods used by the money launderers was to buy gold and jewellery obtained from robberies and then melt it and sell it on.
The money that they received for this was then transferred to bank accounts in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The gang simulated commercial operations through false invoicing in order to hide the origin of the money, which was circulated through various companies and international transfers in order to make it more difficult to trace, the police said.