Germany: Top Investigator Says Russian Mob Expanding

Organised crime gangs from Russia and former Soviet countries are on the rise in Germany, taking part in illicit activities with the potential to cause billions of Euros in losses, the country’s federal investigations chief has said.

bkaBKA logo (Photo: Flow2, Wikimedia Commons)In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt published on Friday, Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) head Holger Munch said organised crime groups from Russia and the Caucuses were behind a range of crimes, including offences that are not the traditional domain of Russian mobsters, such as home burglaries and shop thefts.

Among those groups is “Thieves in Law,” a Russian-speaking gang with its origins in the prisons and gulags of the Soviet Union. The group continues to recruit from prisons – a major threat given that up to 10 percent of inmates in German prisons are Russian speakers.

Government estimates put the group’s strength at between 20,000 and 40,000 people, but officials say the number of members could be over 100,000.

In the interview, Munch also said authorities were working more closely to crack down on Russian criminals using the asylum process to enter Germany.