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Nordex is focus of international investigation

Operation Web, an international law enforcement investigation into Russian organized-crime groups involved in money laundering, is focusing its efforts on the activities of magnate Grigorii Luchanskii and his company, Nordex, "Izvestiya" reported on 16 June.

Luchanskii, who resides in Austria, attracted the attention of international law enforcement agencies in the 1990s because of his massive and controversial deals involving the export from Russia of oil, copper, strategic metals, and weapons. Although Luchanskii has been dubbed by the media as "the biggest uncaught criminal," Operation Web has been studying a potential Achilles heel -- his close contacts with the controversial U.S. businessman Mark Rich, who lives in Switzerland. Rich was wanted by U.S. authorities for 17 years on suspicion of illegal oil trading and massive tax evasion until he was pardoned in 2000 by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton.

(RFE/RL 17.vi.02)

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