Russian Interior Minister: Policemen involved criminal group arrested

Members of a criminal group that comprised Moscow policemen have been arrested in the Russian capital, Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov informed journalists on Monday.

The offenders were detained during a joint operation "the Main Department of Domestic Security, the Federal Security Service of Russia and the Prosecutor General's Office had been preparing for several months", he said.

The police conducted a number of searches and detained six people who had held leading and operative posts in the Moscow Main Interior Department, the minister pointed out.

The members of the group "planted weapons and drugs to previously chosen victims and when criminal proceedings were launched they extorted money from the accused," he explained.

"Corruption in bodies of power remains a serious problem and worries law-enforcement bodies," Gryzlov emphasised.

As to the details of the operation, RIA Novosti learned in the Moscow Main Interior Department that trying to detain two of the offenders the police had to blow up the door of the flat they had barricaded themselves in.

The department's press service pointed out to RIA Novosti that the Prosecutor General's Office, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service had already begun to check information on the detainees' involvement in a series of commissioned murders, robberies and banditry.

"The police have already found a workshop where the offenders upgraded gas pistols to firearms in order to sell to other organised criminal groups," the department's representative said.

Under threats of physical abuse, "the group's members gained control over profits of some casinos, large trade centres and restaurants in Moscow," he added. To achieve this, the criminals set up a private security company and laundered money gained in an illegal way via commercial structures and a specially created fund.

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