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Cablegate: High Level Official Arrested in Immigration Scandal

VZCZCXRO8082
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLA #0052 2011054
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201054Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL BARCELONA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0866
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0003
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0001
RHMFIUU/DHS IP BP WASH DC
RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 1030

UNCLAS BARCELONA 000052

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (CLEMENTS/CERVETTI)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KCOR KCRM RS GG IS SP
SUBJECT: HIGH LEVEL OFFICIAL ARRESTED IN IMMIGRATION SCANDAL

Sensitive But Unclassified. Please handle appropriately.

1. (SBU) Eduard Planells, formerly the Spanish government's
deputy representative to the region of Catalonia, was arrested
July 16 in connection with Operation Wasp (Avispa), a Spanish
National Police (SNP) operation targeting the Russian mafia. A
national anticorruption court ordered the arrest of Planells and
four associates. The suspects are under investigation for
receiving payments from a Russian criminal organization that has
been under close scrutiny by the police since 2005. court
documents reportedly show Planells granted work and residence
permits in exchange for cash to members of the Russian criminal
network.

2. (SBU) In all, five people were arrested - Planells, Gerardo
Gonzalez and Carmen Carballada from the Delegation, Victor
Ambiela who reportedly was connected to the Russian Consulate
(the Russian Consul General publicly denied this) and El Amin
Akhazzam Boukarhak, a documents "fixer". All were charged with
receiving payment from an Israeli/Georgian national named
Malchas Tetruashvili who, in return, received residence permits
for members of his crime gang. On July 17, the suspects were
released under their own recognizance until the trial begins.

3. (SBU) Just prior to his arrest, Planells had resigned his
position at the Delegation and moved to the Telecommunications
Market Commission (CMT), a regulatory agency. Planells was
dismissed from this position the day after he was arrested.

Operation Wasp

4. (SBU) Operation Wasp (Avispa) began in June 2005 when police
arrested 28 people -- at least 22 of them closely connected with
a Russian crime network. All were charged with involvement in
various financial crimes including money laundering. Money from
as many as 800 different bank accounts was confiscated as a
result of the investigation.

Comment

5. (SBU) Planells' arrest will likely be seen as a serious
breach of the immigration system. The Spanish government's
"delegations" to the regions are primarily tasked with
immigration matters. Joan Rangel, Delegate to Catalonia, hired
Planells as his deputy, despite telling reporters he did not
know him well. Tetruashvili, a shadowy figure, who has been a
target of interest by the police, is reported to have been
introduced to Planells by a member of the Catalan Parliament.
Whether or not Planells is convicted, damage may have already
been done to the integrity of the immigration system. Some will
make the jump from criminals gaining access to residence permits
to the possibility that terrorists could also enjoy that same
access. End Comment.

ROBINSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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