Russian organized crime ‘significant threat’ to U.S.

Russian and Eurasian organized crime networks represent a significant threat to economic growth and democratic institutions in the United States, a report released by the U.S. presidential National Security Staff on Monday.

The report warned that Russian organized crime syndicates and oligarchs with criminal links may attempt to “collude with state or state-allied actors to undermine competition in strategic markets such as gas, oil, aluminum, and precious metals.”

“Not only are criminal networks expanding, but they also are diversifying their activities, resulting in the convergence of threats that were once distinct and today have explosive and destabilizing effects,” the report said.

The report – entitled Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Addressing Converging Threats to National Security – named “The Mogilevich Organization” as one such organized crime syndicates.

Semion Mogilevich is wanted by the United States for fraud, racketeering, and money laundering and was recently added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitives list.

Mogilevich was arrested by Russian police on tax charges in January 2008 and was released pending trial in July 2009. Other members of his organization remain at large.

Another “prominent concern” is nuclear material trafficking in the former Soviet Union.

“The United States will continue to cooperate with Russia and the nations of the region to combat illicit drugs and TOC,” the report says.

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