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Call it the Laundromat. It’s a complex system for laundering more than $20 billion in Russian money stolen from the government by corrupt politicians or earned through organized crime activity. It was designed to not only move money from Russian shell companies into EU banks through Latvia, it had the added feature of getting corrupt or uncaring judges in Moldova to legitimize the funds. The state-of-the-art system provided exceptionally clean money backed by a court ruling at a fraction of the cost of regular laundering schemes. It made up for the low costs by laundering huge volumes. The system used just one bank in Latvia and one bank in Moldova but 19 banks in Russia, some of them controlled by rich and powerful figures including the cousin of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While governments and citizen of Eastern Europe were struggling with the recent financial crisis and trying to borrow money from international institutions, billions of Euros circulated in the rgeion in an illegal, parallel system that enriched organized crime figures and corrupt politicians.
An investigation of business practices by East European criminals and corrupt politicians uncovers money laundering, tax avoidance, and other illegal actions costing $250 billion each year in lost tax revenues.
This investigation began with the deaths of sixteen people who were killed when heavy rains caused an avalanche of mud and rock in the San Bernadino Mountains. The report found that corrupt politicians carelessly put thousands of lives at risk by pushing for development in areas prone to floods and fires. The report looks at the corrupt political history that resulted in the current situation, as well as potential problems that could occur in the future. As more and more people move into the San Bernadino-Riverside area, the risk of future disasters becomes even greater.