NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Russian Organized Crime Is Big Business

August 31, 1999

International security experts report that the Central Intelligence Agency has been fully aware of organized crime's influence within the Russian economy since at least the early 1990s. But the Clinton-Gore administration paid no heed to the agency's warnings, and even discouraged it from collecting intelligence on the country's crooks and criminals.

As a result the CIA did not task its field agents around the world to monitor their activities. The policy was to facilitate deals between Russian "businessmen" and Americans through some 250,000 visas a year issued by American consulates in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Organized-crime chieftains then plundered Russia, parking hundreds of billions abroad.

  • Experts estimate that $100 billion had been laundered by 1994, $200 billion by 1996 and $300 billion by 1999.
  • The laundering was conducted through 55 tax havens ranging from Vanuatu in the Pacific to the Cayman Islands, Bahrain and the Bahamas.
  • The proceeds purchased choice properties from Buenos Aires to Berlin and from Athens to Acapulco, experts report.
  • Two years ago, the Center for Strategic and International Studies issued a report with a forward by former directors of the FBI and the CIA, which concluded Russia was becoming a criminal operation from top to bottom.

Although Vice President Al Gore's staff downplayed the report, it immediately received the endorsement of FBI Director Louis Freeh. On a visit to Washington, former Russian Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov confirmed that Russia had become a gigantic kleptocracy. The Clinton administration dismissed that warning also.

Source: Arnaud de Borchgrave, "Who Wasn't Minding the Bear?" Washington Times, August 30, 1999.


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