Thu 9 July 2020

A senior member of a suspected Russian mafia accused of laundering money through Spanish football has been found dead at his home while on bail.

A Europe-wide investigation into alleged football corruption has been rocked by the death of a suspected Russian mafia boss.

The body of Arnold Spivakovsky, who has also used the name “Tamm”, was found at his home in southern Spain in mid-March.

While the recent deaths of some Russian businessman linked to the country’s mafias are being re-investigated as potentially suspicious by European police forces, sources familiar with Spivakovsky’s case claim that law enforcement officials do not suspect foul play.

Spivakovsky’s ex-wife, Lolita Milyavskaya, a Russian singer and actress, has reportedly claimed on social media that he had been suffering from depression since he was arrested in Spain in September 2017.

Spivakovsky and ten other arrested Russians were suspected of running a major money laundering operation through a Spanish football club, Marbella FC, and two other local businesses. He is alleged to have been a senior figure within the “Solntsevskaya” mafia, which is believed to have laundered hundreds of millions of pounds throughout Europe.

Spivakovsky’s death will no doubt be a hurdle for Europol and local police. His alleged role has been central to Operation Oligarch.”

Byline Times source

The arrests in September 2017 were made under Europol’s “Operation Oligarch” investigation which, among other things, explored the alleged infiltration of Europe’s cash-rich football sector by two Russian mafias: the Solntsevskaya and Izmailovskaya.

After the arrests, Europol issued a statement which read: “Both criminal organisations had developed a complex system to launder money in Spain, mainly through three legal companies based in the Málaga region: a local football club, a water bottling company, and a golf club. It is believed that these mafia organisations could have laundered more than EUR 30 million in Spain alone.”

As part of police raids linked to Operation Oligarch – a five-year probe – investigators have also seized computers, cash, guns, mobile phones and documents.

Spivakovsky was bailed following his arrest but could not leave Spain while the police investigation continued.

A source familiar with the investigation told Byline Times: “Spivakovsky’s death will no doubt be a hurdle for Europol and local police. His alleged role has been central to Operation Oligarch, and it remains to be seen how Europe’s authorities will proceed from here.”

One of the other high-profile names arrested under Operation Oligarch was Alexander Grinberg, the former owner of Spanish third-division club Marbella FC. The picture (above) shows Spanish police officers searching Grinberg’s luxury yacht during police raids in September 2017.Grinberg bought Marbella FC five years ago – for one Euro.

Spivakovsky’s ex-wife, Lolita Milyavskaya, has reportedly claimed…that he had been suffering from depression since his arrest.

Grinberg purchased the financially-troubled club five years ago – for one Euro. Police suspect that he and others then washed significant sums of illegal cash through the organisation and other businesses.

Grinberg denies any wrongdoing and says he bought Marbella FC as a long-term investment.

He sold the club to Chinese businessman Zhao Zhen – a sports business consultant – late last year, after his assets were frozen.

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