Time: Sun Oct 05 07:22:31 1997
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Date: Sun, 05 Oct 1997 07:06:37 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: FBI chief tells of Russian organized crime's widening
  grip (fwd)
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

>FBI chief tells of Russian organized crime's widening grip
>He described complex scams and weaponry. He also spoke of links with
>South American drug cartels.
>By Patricia Wilson
>WASHINGTON -- Russian organized-crime groups, rich and sophisticated,
>are running complex frauds in the United States, forging links with
>South American drug cartels, and operating ``supermarkets'' for weapons,
>Congress heard yesterday.
>``The size of the problem is really immense,'' FBI Director Louis J.
>Freeh told the House International Relations Committee. ``We're a long
>way from getting our hands around it.''
>Freeh said organized crime had exploded in Russia following the end of
>the Cold War, the emergence of global economies, and advances in
>computer and communications technologies. It now poses a real threat to
>reform in Russia and ``imminent dangers'' to the United States, he said.
>``In the United States, we have 24 traditional organized-crime families
>and about 2,000 active members of the Cosa Nostra,'' he said. ``In
>Russia, there are between 5,000 and 8,000 groups with 100,000 members.''
>About 30 of those Russian groups are active in other countries,
>including the United States, he added.
>Freeh cautioned against underestimating the groups, saying the United
>States had ``strong indications'' that former Soviet KGB officials were
>working closely with many of them.
>``What makes these groups very unique and more troublesome is the way
>they operate. These guys hit the ground with gasoline excise tax frauds,
>health frauds . . . a much more sophisticated type of organized crime
>than we've ever seen in the United States,'' he said, adding that such
>scams had been uncovered in Los Angeles and New York.
>He told the hearing that Russians had formed alliances with South
>American drug cartels that were growing and ``very dangerous.''
>Committee Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman said Russian organized-crime
>groups had become ``virtual Kmarts for Colombian narco-guerrillas to
>purchase weapons.''
>``These new global cartels could ultimately be capable of buying entire
>governments and commercial trade zones in emerging democracies and,
>eventually, undermining established Western markets and stable world
>financial trading systems,'' the New York Republican declared.
>Giovanni De Gennaro, deputy director of the Italian National Police, who
>also appeared before the panel, said Russian organized crime posed a
>major threat through its use of sophisticated financial procedures to
>accumulate huge funds.
>``A significant example . . . is represented by brokerage houses
>established to purchase huge quantities of oil for companies controlled
>by the Russian mafia.''
>De Gennaro said the complex phenomenon had crossed Russian borders and
>was affecting other European countries ``with a modus operandi similar
>to that used in the United States, where the Russian mafia has obtained
>huge profits in this sector.''
>Earlier this week, the Washington Post quoted Barry R. McCaffrey, the
>Clinton administration's national drug-control policy director, as
>saying that ``the Russians, along with the Nigerians, are the most
>threatening criminal organizations based in the United States.''
>That is because, according to McCaffrey and others, the Russian
>organizations offer drug cartels access to sophisticated weapons that
>previously were beyond their reach. The Russians also bring access to
>new drug markets in Russia and other former Soviet republics at a time
>when consumption is falling in the United States.
>Freeh, who endorsed the findings of a U.S. public policy research group
>that reported Monday that corrupt officials, crooked businessmen and
>organized crime had a choke hold on the Russian economy, said Moscow was
>``having an extremely difficult time'' in dealing with the problem.
>Asked if he believed crime genuinely threatened reform in Russia, Freeh
>replied: ``Yes, I do.''
>He also said the scope of the problem required immediate attention from
>Washington, such as the posting of full-time FBI agents in Russia and
>other former Soviet republics to gather their own intelligence and
>develop their own sources.
>``As a result of increased inquiries from FBI field offices and growing
>cooperation with Russian authorities, we quickly learned that the
>problem was more extensive than we thought,'' he said.
>1997 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.

Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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not leave, until our mission is accomplished and justice reigns eternal. 11
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