Police bust suspected Chinese-run fraud operation in Spain
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
- Spanish Interior Ministry says more than 80 people arrested, including well-known figures
- Ring generated several hundred million dollars in proceeds in recent years, ministry says
- Arrests were made and evidence seized in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities
- The ring also is accused of prostitution and human trafficking
Madrid (CNN) -- A suspected Chinese-run money-laundering and tax fraud operation in Spain that generated several hundred million dollars in proceeds in recent years was busted Tuesday, with more than 80 arrests, the Spanish Interior Ministry said.
Most of the suspects are Chinese, including a well-known figure who lived in a luxury development in Madrid. They also include a Spanish male porn star, whose production company is suspected of issuing false invoices to help launder funds, the ministry said.
Police moved in early Tuesday to make arrests and seize evidence in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities. A center of the operations was suspected to be in an industrial zone in the Madrid suburb or Fuenlabrada, where a number of wholesale businesses sell all types of imported Chinese goods.
The system was based on importing large quantities of Chinese goods to Spain and declaring customs on only a fraction of them, so that the merchandise ended up in Chinese-run retail shops in neighborhoods across the country. Profits were taken that then needed to be laundered, the ministry said.
A Spanish town councilman from Fuenlabrada also was arrested, suspected of issuing licenses in exchange for payments.
The ring was suspected of laundering 200 million to 300 million euros annually in recent years. Police began investigating two years ago.
Police found containers in ships, cars and vans that held large sums of cash.
The ring also is accused of branching out into other criminal activities, including prostitution and human trafficking.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories