NGOS

Judge gives Russian mobster’s mansion to disability support group

The €12m property will be maintained by employees until court case ends

Guennadi Petrov, cuando declaró en Palma. / EFE

A 12-million-euro mansion that once belonged to a Russian mobster has been awarded by a judge to a non-profit group that helps the mentally disabled.

Guennadi Petrov’s home in Calvià (Mallorca) — which has direct access to the crystal-clear waters of Cala Xada — was the site of his arrest in June 2008.

The man whom police believe to be at the top of Tamboskaya — a powerful mafia organization from Saint Petersburg — liked to refer to himself as “a clean criminal.” In May 2012, he took advantage of his parole to decamp back to Russia and avoid the Spanish justice system.

Now, High Court Judge Pablo Ruz has ruled that the 500-square-meter estate, which includes the home, gardens and a swimming pool, will be enjoyed by the members of Amadip.Esment, one of the most prestigious non-profit groups in the Balearic Islands. The group provides support to around 800 people with varying degrees of disability.

The group provides support to 800 people with varying degrees of disability

Legal sources said that this marks the first time that a judge has awarded a seized property to a social cause while the case is still underway. The idea came from the Anticorruption Attorney’s Office in the Balearics, following a petition by Amadip.Esment to be allowed to use the property for leisure activities.

In exchange for this temporary arrangement, Amadip workers will maintain the estate in good condition, ensuring that the property does not lose value in the event that it is used to cover the civil liabilities of Petrov and his wife, Elena Petrova, both of whom face charges for money laundering, tax evasion and fraud, among others.

The decision to award the home to the support group was made in April of last year, on condition that Amadip would file quarterly reports on the activities and maintenance work being carried out on the premises.

Petrov’s defense appealed this decision, but the High Court has ruled against him. The mansion will remain under the care of the NGO until the end of the investigation into Operation Troika, which legal sources say is now near completion.

The alleged mafia boss, whose organization is said to have strong connections with the Kremlin, remains beyond the reach of the Spanish justice system. On April 1, 2012 the High Court authorized the couple to travel to Russia to visit Petrov’s mother-in-law, who was seriously ill. The two-week leave has stretched into the present, and it is highly unlikely that the extradition request will prosper.

Although this is the first time that a seized asset has been awarded before the end of a criminal case, there are several precedents for such a move when a trial ends. When the Galician drug trafficker Laureano Oubiña was convicted, his estate in Baión was awarded to the Galician winery Condes de Albarei in 2008. The National Anti-Drug Plan, the agency that auctioned off the home and vineyards in Vilanova de Arousa (Pontevedra), stipulated that five percent of all profits from the winery business must go to the fight against drug trafficking. In 2013, the company announced that the drug agency had received over 100,000 euros as a result of the agreement.

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