On 18 October 2018, a decade long prosecution of the Tambov mafia in Spain ended in fiasco when judges acquitted all 17 of the defendants. The verdict was particularly surprising because some of the defendants, including alleged money launderer Michael Rebo and mafioso Gennady Petrov (pictured above), had actually confessed to the crimes they were charged with, writes Stephen Komarnyckyj for EUToday.
Russia's FSB intelligence service had submitted reports to the court with evidence supposedly demonstrating the innocence of the accused. The judges had apparently believed Russian intelligence rather than the evidence amassed by the prosecution.
They disregarded a protected witness’s testimony regarding the racketeering perpetrated by the gang and reports by Spanish intelligence and police services. The evidence, including the vast sums moved in questionable bank operations, seems voluminous and compelling and it is hard to believe that it was rejected and the FSB's rather unsubstantiated claims that the men were innocent accepted. However, new evidence shows that the FSB and Putin were actually linked to the mafia gang who were acquitted in 2017 and that Michael Rebo has relaunched his business career in Germany.
The FSB had indeed been connected to mafia activity in Spain via a previous successful prosecution of a Taganskaya mafia operation. In May 2016, Aleksandr Romanov, a Taganskaya Mafia boss who lived in Mallorca, was found guilty of money laundering.