Portugal´s only registered non-profit crime prevention association providing dedicated information and support services to the community

30 June 2016


Since the last newsletter I spent some 10 days in the UK - the weather was awful and of course everything was focused on the lead up to the EU Referendum. 

Certainly the outcome of this was unexpected to many and now government will need to carry forward the decision of the majority who voted, as quickly and as smoothly as possible. There are many implications, some being in the area of security, which I have covered in a special feature in this newsletter.

The welcome news which broke whilst I was there, was that the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) have decided not to pursue any further action against Sir Cliff Richard after an investigation lasting at least two years. This resulted in an apology from the South Yorkshire Police concerning the televised raid on his home. I met with Sir Cliff in 2015 concerning this and have included a related article concerning this issue.

As we now enter the Critical Fire Period it is very important that we all take steps to avoid inadvertently causing a fire in the rural areas. We will be writing more about this shortly including a feature in the Algarve Resident to be published on 7th July. If you are reading this today (30th June) then it is still not too late to attend the seminar on fire protection in Caldas de Monchique later today concerning this subject - details in this newsletter.

This month we report again some excellent arrests by the various law enforcement agencies which includes the work of the Judicial Police in dealing with corruption. These are only a few of the many arrests that have been made.

We are keen to collaborate with community minded companies that can help make Portugal a safe place to live and visit. This innovative approach is aimed at promoting the good work of the business concerned as well as helping to maintain a safe and secure environment through supporting the work of our association.

We therefore thank IBEX Insurance based in Almancil for sponsoring this newsletter and for being one of our supporters.

To learn more about how to sponsor a newsletter by becoming one of our supporters please contact us on 913045093 or at   info@safecommunitiesportugal.com

David Thomas
Safe Communities Portugal


Brexit should serve to stop "spreading malaise" in Europe - Statement by António Costa.

The Prime Minister, António Costa, said on Tuesday in Brussels that the "bad news" of the outcome of the United Kingdom Referendum on membership of the European Union (EU) should serve to curb the "spreading malaise" of citizens in Europe.

At the start of the summit of Heads of State and the EU Government, António Costa noted that the UK's outcome is "bad news" but that it should serve to define a new relationship framework between the 27 EU countries and the British, as well as realising how to "prevent such situations from recurring" elsewhere and "lock this spread of unease about Europe."

"This malaise that has a cause;namely that citizens no longer feel that Europe is useful in our day-to-day activities, it does not respond to the concerns people have, and therefore this implies a policy shift is required," he said.

The Prime Minister stressed that after the opt-out victory in Thursday's referendum in the UK, "you must look at the causes of this vote that are similar to fostering of populism in many countries. Thus, the EU should "answer to what are the needs of people", particularly in terms of security, economy, social integration and cohesion.

He also argued that Europe should open negotiations with the United Kingdom "amicably, not trying to use these negotiations as a punishment to those who freely and democratically decided to choose their way.  It is not divorce, not a friendly separation, but to pursue a joint working relationship with the United Kingdom in a different way from what we had so far, "he said.

Portugal's Infant mortality rate under 5 years of age decreases by 94% since 1970

Portugal has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, with four deaths of children under five per thousand births in 2015, which represents a decrease of 94% in 45 years.

The data contained in UNICEF's annual report - United Nations children's Fund, released today, reveals, in general, that almost seventy million children will die before age five by 2030 if the international community no longer invest in the poorest children.

According to UNICEF, and based on Eurostat data for 2014, 19.5% of its population are living at risk of poverty. Among adults the risk of poverty was 18.1%, while among children the risk was much higher and reached to 25.6%, while the European average was 16.3% and 21.1%, respectively i n a list of 197 countries,

Portugal appears in 166 th position, with over 15 countries having an infant mortality rate of up to five years of four children in a thousand. The most poorly rated country is Angola in 1st place, with an infant mortality rate of 157 in every thousand.

In Portugal, UNICEF reveals that the infant mortality rate up to five years of age has reduced by 94% since 1970, the year when  68 children died  in every thousand births. This number drops to 15 deaths in 1990 to seven in 2000 and four in 2015, which means, according to UNICEF data, there was a reduction of 76% since 1990 and 50% since 2000.

Notable Arrests

Judicial Police arrests 11 persons in major arms trafficking operation

On 28th June, the Judicial Police conducted a major operation to combat arms trafficking, with more than 40 searches by the National Counterterrorism Unit (UNCT) in the areas of Loures, Amadora and Leiria.

So far eleven people have been arrested. The goal, in addition to arrests, involves the seizure of firearms traded on the black market that are often used in violent crimes. 

The operation by the UNCT, which specializes in combating crimes of a more violent and organized nature, commenced at 7:00 a.m. and had the support of dozens of inspectors from other units of the PJ from Lisbon.

Elements of the Judicial Police, PSP and GNR suspected of corruption in vehicle inspection centers

About 200 Judicial Police inspectors conducted 70 searches in the Greater Lisbon area last week. Among the 20 detainees are an inspector and a couple of security guards PJ, a PSP officer and a military GNR in reserve. The five are alleged to be involved in a scheme to ensure approval of cars in the inspection.

Subsequently four of the 20 defendants arrested for corruption and other crimes related to the fraudulent approval of vehicles subject to inspection have been suspended from activity duty and forbidden to contact each other.

Under the Operation Roda Viva , which investigates suspected corruption offenses related business activity with workshops and car inspections, PJ detained last week, 20 people, including a Judicial Police inspector, a military GNR a PSP element and inspectors from an auto mechanics inspection centre.

Seventeen of the 20 detainees were presented on Friday 24th June before an investigating judge in Sintra and the  prosecution asked the arrest of four of them, but the judge considered this unfounded on the "grounds relied on," having only ordered suspension of exercise activity and prohibition of contact with each other.

The District Attorney General Lisbon (PGDL) said that the defendants are "highly charged" for active corruption, passive corruption, influence peddling, embezzlement, forgery, unlawful access and abuse of power.  According to the indictment, the defendants benefited between November 2015 and June 21, 2016, "the irregular approval of personal vehicles and others, who did not have the mechanical and safety conditions to be approved."

The operation Roda Viva , held at the Greater Lisbon area, involved 200 staff of the PJ who seized in searches evidence and objects related to the crimes of active and passive corruption, embezzlement, abuse of power, influence peddling and falsification of documents.

Investigations by the National Anti-Corruption Unit (UNCC) began about eight months ago under the direction of the Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) Sintra.


Excellent work by the Judicial Police in dealing with corruption. There have been a number of major successes in this area. 

PSP Lisbon Metropolitan police arrest 5 persons for pick pocketing

On 25th June at around 1200 hrs the Command Lisbon metro from the PSP, through the public transport security division,  arrested four suspects (three men and a woman) at Rua Áurea, in Lisbon, aged 25 and 35 years for grand larceny (theft by pickpocket).

The suspects had monitored tourists in that area and stole a wallet with 110 euros and various documents from a tourist. The police were carrying out anti-pick pocketing surveillance in the area which has a high concentration of tourists.

The Detainees already have a criminal record for crimes of the same nature. They have appeared for first judicial interrogation, two being placed under remand.

On 27th June at around 1200 hrs Lisbon Metropolitan Command 1st. Police Division, yesterday, arrested a woman aged 43 years in the Praça do Comércio, Freguesia de Santa Maria Maior, having stolen a wallet from a tourist containing € 1485.

The PSP advice the following: not to carry large amounts of cash with you, never lose sight of your belongings, always keep your bag, purse, backpack or bag closed and, where possible, carry them in front of you, especially in crowded places, like the entry and exit of public transport, queues or public performances.

Please also see our advice in English and Portuguese here.

Robber caught in the act by Lisbon Police

On 25th June at around 01.45 hrs the PSP Lisbon Metropolitan Command Police Division of Sintra Agualva zone - Cacém, arrested a man aged 19 years old in the process of carrying out a robbery.

The detainee approached a group of young people and by threats and the use of force stole a wallet from one of the victims containing among others,a Citizen Card, Driving License and debit and credit cards.

Officers who were policing that area managed in intercept the suspect.


Excellent work by the agents concerned

Faro - Cat 'denounces' cannabis plantation to PSP

The insistent meowing of a cat resulted in a woman calling the PSP for the animal to be helped. When looking for the cat, the PSP agents however came across a number of cannabis plants resulting in the arrest of the owner.

The case happened on Sunday afternoon in Faro. At 18:40 hrs a 112 call was received from a woman who asked for help as a cat had been meowing for several hours in a vacant house next to her residence.

 A patrol of two officers went to the property looking for the animal and climbed a wall to enter the property vacant. When they were inside, trying to find the cat, they found a number of plants that appeared to be cannabis on a a terrace in another room.

They were then called agents of the Criminal Investigation Police PSP Faro and after it was established that the residence was leased with no one inside. Surveillance was mounted by the agents and shortly afterwards a car arrived and a person entered the property.

Local News

Former President of Tavira Câmara found guilty

On 29th June, the former Mayor of Tavira, Macario Correia, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, suspended for the same period, four prevarication crimes.

The judgment of the trial in which Correia was charged with five prevarication crimes was read today in the Court of Faro. The judge Fernando Marques da Silva, stated as proven four of the five crimes that the former mayor had been accused, concerning his role in licensing villas and swimming pools in rural areas of Tavira, which "clearly violated the rules of the National Ecological Reserve (REN)".

The facts date back to his third term as mayor between 2005 and 2009, when he went against the technical advice of the local authority, granted architectural projects in places "where construction was absolutely forbidden."

GNR Operation Senior Census 2016 Results

The National Republican Guard (GNR) held in April and throughout the country, another phase of the "Census Senior" operation, in order to help the elderly living alone and / or in isolated places. During the operation advice was given on adopting security measures to reduce the risk of becoming victims of crime.

Since the year 2011, the year it was held the first held, Operation Census Sr., has helped the elderly who live alone and / or isolated or vulnerable situations

In Operation "Senior Census 2016" 43 322 elderly persons were registered of whom: 26 000 living alone; 4626 living in isolated areas: 3085 living alone and in isolated areas; 9611 who do not fall into the above categories, but are vulnerable to physical and / or psychological limitations.

The situations of increased vulnerability were reported to the appropriate authorities, particularly social services in order to ensure future monitoring.

The GNR will continue throughout the year, to help the elderly by, making regular visits to their homes, so they are more aware concerning matters regarding their safety.

GNR rescues 54 migrants in Greece

The GNR Military Unit Coastal Control (UCC), which is taking part in the FRONTEX mission in Greece (Poseidon Sea 2016), rescued at dawn on June 27 near the island of Chios - Greece, a rubber boat with 54 people on board, including ten women and nine children.

The rescue occurred during a maritime patrol that was being carried out by the UCC vessel, in which the military observed the overcrowded boat with migrants.

The intercepted vessel was found to have crossed the Aegean Sea between Turkey and the island of Chios in Greece, with the goal of reaching Europe.

The intercepted people had no injuries and were handed over to local security authorities. The GNR has since April 1 been talking part in the FRONTEX mission in the Greek islands of Chios and Kos with 32 military. The main objective of this operation is to prevent, detect and stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and drug trafficking, as well as help to safeguard human lives at sea.

Since the beginning of operation, the GNR have rescued 471 migrants and travelled 3459 nautical miles.


Brexit - Maintaining stability

The unexpected result of the EU referendum was that 51.9% of those who voted, wanted the United Kingdom to leave the EU. As a result overnight an estimated two trillion US dollars was wiped off markets around the world and the pound was at a 30 year low against the US dollar.

There is now in the UK political, economic and constitutional uncertainty as a result of the outcome of the referendum.

From a safety and security point of view there is little in my opinion that will likely effect Brits living in Portugal - the situation in the UK however is rather different. Uncertainty, can easily lead to instability and unless the political leadership in both of the main parties is resolved quickly, and an early plan developed on how the UK will exit the EU, there is always the threat of increased political extremism.

It is a disturbing fact that in the UK in 2015 there were 52,528 hate crimes recorded by the police, an increase of 18 per cent compared with 2013/14. Alarmingly 82% of these were of a racist nature. Police believe there has been an increase in hate crimes and community tensions since last week's referendum. Initial figures show an increase of 57% in reported incidents between Thursday and Sunday compared with the same days four weeks earlier. Many of the alleged perpetrators cited the decision to leave the EU explicitly. Many emigrants in the UK, including those from Portugal are concerned about their future.

In terms of security and the UK's dealings with the rest of Europe, Brexit means that it is unlikely that the UK can continue to be a member of Europol (the European Police organization) on the same terms as at present. Much of policing in EU countries nowadays is embedded in Europol, in particular the checks that police make daily against its databases. This relationship would need to be renegotiated.

Although some of the information exchange between Police here in Portugal and the UK is through Europol, much of it is bilateral, between the two countries concerned. This is unlikely in my view to change.

It will be important however to ensure that existing mechanisms that can identify wanted persons, and monitor those of security interest travelling between the UK and Portugal are retained, or if not possible, renegotiated.

Coupled with this the European Arrest warrant has since 2004, resulted in over 1,000 suspects who have fled justice, being apprehended overseas and returned to the UK. The UK would no longer be able to do this which means that British criminals could remain at large in local communities overseas including Portugal. This would need to be renegotiated if possible - or through alternative means such as INTERPOL.

The EU Referendum has now taken place and the result was not what everyone wanted. The UK Government now needs to clarify its position on Brexit, move forward under sound leadership with an agreed plan, addressing the political, economic and constitutional issues that have arisen and mending the divisions within the communities concerned.
Sir Cliff Richard

It is very welcome news that the UK's criminal Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided that they were not going to pursue sex abuse charges against Sir Cliff Richard. 

As readers may recall in August 2014 South Yorkshire police raided Sir Cliff's home in the UK exercise a search warrant. In doing so the Police informed the BBC of the date and time this would take place, which resulted in a helicopter being used to film the whole operation.

A short while after this I wrote to the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Sir Keith Vaz, concerning this intrusion, which in my opinion was entirely contrary to procedures, causing unnecessary damage to Sir Cliff's reputation, resulting in considerable stress and possibly infringed his human rights. Some two years later the South Yorkshire Police have apologized.

When I met Sir Cliff some 18 months ago and discussed this incident, I was deeply impressed by his frankness, honesty and integrity, and informed him that justice would prevail and so it has. It is up to Sir Cliff to decide what action if any to take now.

Crime Prevention

GNR Safe Residence Program 

The GNR Safe Residence Program (SRP) was launched in Alfeicao, Loulé in January 2010 following a number of violent indoor residential robberies targeted mainly against foreign householders in this area. 

The idea arose from discussions held between concerned village residents and the GNR on how best to respond to this rise in crime, through closer engagement between the community and the GNR
The program is aimed at providing a quick response by the GNR in case of emergencies to those living in isolated areas. It also provides reassurance to residents and deters criminal activity in the areas concerned. An additional benefit of the scheme is that at any time of the year you can inform the GNR SRP team that you will be absent from your property, and they will ensure patrols will make periodic checks as far as resources allow.

As of May 2016 there are now nearly 7200 households registered with the program.

Further details of the program and contact details of the SRP teams can be found here.

Crime prevention advice beaches and car parks

The summer has arrived and one of the big attractions of the Algarve are its fantastic beaches, some of the safest in the world.

However, there are off course those who take the advantage of this to commit crime, mainly thefts from hire cars and other opportunist crime such as stealing goods that have been left unattended. Nearly all of this type of crime is preventable.

Such thefts especially when passports and credit cards are concerned, can have a serious impact on a holiday so it is best to take simple crime prevention advice. 

We have a comprehensive "Stay Safe" crime prevention series and the following two in particular are very useful in reducing the risk of becoming a victim of these sorts of crime.

Download here our guides on Driving and Car parks and Beaches.

Civil Protection and Public Safety advice

The importance of cleaning land to reduce the risk of forest fires

I received the following email from a resident living near Monchique a few days ago, which serves as an excellent reminder of the importance of cleaning land to reduce the risk of fires affecting properties.

"I live in Corte Cibrao, between Marmelete and the Autodromo.

We were caught up in the fire that occurred last October, so have first-hand experience.
Our property was only saved because the wind was not very strong that day and thanks to the brilliant Bombeiros. The fire came within 3 metres at the back.

Rui Andre (Mayor of Monchique) visited us the day after and commented on the fact that we had kept the land around our house clear of undergrowth".

Seminar - Protecting ourselves in the event of a Forest Fire

Seminar - Casino das Caldas de Monchique - 30th June 2016  - 1600 to 1900 hrs

It is still not too late to attend the above seminar. As we approach the Critical Fire period when the fire risk substantially increases, it is important that we know how to help protect ourselves and property should a fire occour.

The Municipality of Monchique and Safe Communities Algarve have therefore joined together to hold a seminar to address this important subject. Whereas the emphasis at previous seminars has been the preventative steps that should be taken well before the critical fire period, this time we will focus more on how to protect our homes should a fire actually occour.

Those taking part will be Civil Protection, GNR and Bombeiros. Their presentations will address will cover the following important topics: What the critical fire period means; Communication with the emergency services; Monitoring the outbreak and spread of forest fires; How forest fires spread, Protecting our property, ourselves, friends and loved one; Rescue and evacuation; Dealing with animals and pets and basic life support - fire related.

This seminar will be based on real life experiences, using file archives, and the lessons learned from these. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions. It will be introduced by the Mayor of Monchique Rui Andre and President of Safe Communities Algarve David Thomas.

Attending this semnar will help provide you with the basic knowledge, which could help save your life. There will be plenty of time to ask questions.

There will also be an opportunity to learn about the GNR Safe residence Program for those living in isolated areas.

This will be in Portuguese and English and entrance is free.

Please contact the Municipality of Monchique and Safe Communities Algarve for reservations at the following e-mails - eventos@cm-monchique.pt or  info@safecommunitiesalgarve.com
The Casino das Caldas de Monchique is located at Caldas de Monchique - Monchique. GPS:LAT   37º 17' 7.588'' N by LON   8º 33' 13.035'' W

Precautions during heat waves  

Having just had the hottest day so far it is an opportune time to remind us all concerning the subject of heat waves.

The need to take precautions from heat waves illustrates the extreme weather conditions that we can experience in Portugal; snow. high winds, and havy rainfall to long periods of sunshine when temperature can exceed 40C.

In the case of heat waves such as that seen in 2015, it is important that precautions are taken especially in respect of the elderly and those who are more vulnerable. As early as May last year in Beja a temperature of   40C was recorded breaking the previous record for that month of    39.5C four years ago.  

Care has to be taken in such heat to avoid dehydration or even worse. The Director General of Health has issued guidelines to help avoid health issues during high temperatures and these can be downloaded from the Safe Communities Portugal website in English   here.

Sad case of a tick bite leading to death - please be aware

I received this very distressing email from a regular reader of our newsletter who has asked me to share with others so that people are aware:

"Our friend died last month from Rickettsia passed on by an infected tick. Only took 8 days from the time of first symptoms.

She was a very fit 69 year old and had 3 dogs and 2 horses so she was very much the outdoor type. I don't think she was aware how dangerous ticks can be and what diseases they can carry. I just thought that if you put out a reminder to people that if they feel in any way ill after a tick bite (she thought she had flu first) they must seek medical help asap.

If they can recover  the tick itself, they should keep it in a suitable safe container for the hospital to screen for disease"

An article concerning Rickettsia in Portugal can be downloaded here.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention issues bulletins for people travelling to various countries which is a useful read if you are travelling overseas. In the case of Portugal the advice from the  Centre for Disease Control and Prevention  can be downloaded here

Cybercrime and Computer Security 

Alert: Fraudsters taking advantage of the Rio Olympics 2016

Action Fraud UK reports that as the start of the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro approaches, the increase in media coverage provides an opportunity for criminals to take advantage of people's familiarity with the Olympic brand for their own gain.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has analysed reports from Action Fraud and found that the Rio 2016 Olympics' name appears in frauds such as Lottery Scams, Financial Investments and Tickets.

Lottery Scams

Fraudsters are sending letters and emails informing victims that they are the winner of a cash prize and a trip to the Olympics in Rio courtesy of the event organisers in Brazil or the International Olympic Committee.

Never respond to any such communication. If you have not entered a lottery then you cannot have won it.

Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity, if they ask you to keep your win a secret; it is likely to be a fraud.

Ticket Scams

There will be very high demand for tickets to the Rio Olympic Games and that tickets sales can be exploited.

Always check the authorised sellers list which is published for the Rio Olympics. The authorised sellers list can be found here and the legal ticket guide relating to the resale of tickets can be found here.

According to security company Kaspersky, cybercriminals are also registering domains with names containing "rio" and "rio2016". These well constructed fake websites use cheap SSL certificates to provide "https" web addresses to make them appear legitimate, so be on the lookout.

Read more

Apple iTunes invoice scam

I received this from one of our regular readers living in the Eastern Algarve few days ago, which serves as an excellent reminder to be cautious when receiving invoices. It reads:

"Thanks for the regular updates, much appreciated. I got caught the other day by the 'Apple iTunes invoice scam' whereby I received an invoice for some music downloads for £9.55 which I'd not ordered".

"I clicked on the 'If you did not order/cancel' button and proceeded to give some personal information I should not have done. I thought I was computer savvy but it just goes to show how one get drawn into a scam! Managed to rectify the situation and cancelled my bank card without any damage being done".


These types of messages come in a number of different forms. In the form of emails the so called invoice can either be an attachment or accessed by a link in the bottom of the message.If it is an invoice for something you did not order then simply delete. In the case of links in the body of the email, by placing the curser, but NOT clicking, over the link will give you the link address. 

If you come across anything similar please alert us together with your experiences. so we can share with others. 

Overseas News

More than 140 detained in global action against airline fraud

An international law enforcement operation targeting airline fraudsters has resulted in the detention and investigation of 140 individuals found in possession of tickets bought using stolen or fake credit card details.

The two-day operation (15-16 June) was organised globally through coordination centres at Europol in The Hague, INTERPOL Singapore and Ameripol in Bogota, with support from Canadian and US law enforcement authorities. Over 74 airlines and 43 countries were involved in this year's action, which took place in over 130 airports across the world.

Individuals arrested during the operation were also found to be involved in other forms of crimes, including human trafficking, drug trafficking, cybercrime and terrorism.

During the operation, 252 suspicious transactions were reported. As a result, 140 people were detained, denied boarding and questioned by police. 

Representatives from airlines, online travel agencies and payment card companies based at Europol's command post worked together with experts from Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) to identify suspicious transactions and send confirmation to law enforcement officers deployed at the airports. 
Payment card schemes, card issuers, Perseuss and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) supported the operation by providing information to confirm any suspicious fraudulent airline ticket transactions. 

Read more on how to avoid becoming a victim to airline ticket fraud

China 'bans Lady Gaga' after Dalai Lama meeting

According to UK's Guardian, Lady Gaga has reportedly been added to a list of hostile foreign forces banned by China's Communist party after she met with the Dalai Lama to discuss yoga. The American pop singer, who has sold more than 27m albums, met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader on Sunday before a conference in Indianapolis.

A video of the 19-minute encounter - in which the pair pondered issues such as meditation, mental health and how to detoxify humanity - was posted on the singer's Facebook account.
The meeting sparked an angry reaction from Beijing, which has attacked the spiritual leader as a "wolf in monk's robes".

The Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in March 1959, insists he is merely seeking greater autonomy from Chinese rule for Tibetans.

But China's rulers consider him a separatist who they claim is conspiring to split the Himalayan region from China in order to establish theocratic rule there.

Following Lady Gaga's meeting, the Communist party's mysterious propaganda department issued "an important instruction" banning her entire repertoire from mainland China, Hong Kong's pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily reported on Monday.

Spanish Police arrest group responsible for burglaries at summer homes in Alicante

On 27th June - National Police agents broke up a criminal group dedicated to breaking into summer residences in an operation carried out in the province of Alicante. The group took advantage of the absence of tenants, and the items stolen include jewellery, watches, electronics and cash. Four people have been arrested.

The investigation last February began when agents received information from the Interior Attaché of the Embassy of Romania in Spain, of a burglary in an Alicante town. After examining evidence collected with data from other similar events, agents were able to identify a person as responsible for these acts and, as a result, the rest of the organisation.

Those arrested were targeting holiday makers renting apartments/villas.  Agents seized more than a dozen mobile phones and tablets, two laptops and various valuables such as watches, collectable coins or jewellery.

Russian Money Laundering Criminal Network Dismantled

On 28th June, the Spanish Guardia Civil supported by Europol, dismantled a money laundering organised criminal ring of Russian origin with links to two well-known Russian criminal syndicates. It has been estimated that, in the last few years, the dismantled ring has laundered, in Spain, an estimated amount of EUR 62 million through property investments.

The operation code named "Usura" has resulted in the arrest of 8 suspects and the seizure of 191 real estate properties, alongside 142 financial products such as bank accounts, around EUR 120,000, including several EUR 500 banknotes,  numerous mobile phones, IT devices, and business-related documents. In total, 19 premises searches were carried out in various locations in the Tarragona province and Barcelona, which involved over 180 Guardia Civil officers.

The criminals' modus operandi involved the use of off-shore based shell companies offering high interest rates, deferred payment loans and mortgages to Spanish and foreign customers so as to justify dodgy financial operations and property investments.

The investigations have revealed links to companies located in numerous tax havens, as well as links to various professional front men, known internationally for their involvement in laundering. In addition, further links to well-known Russian criminal networks dedicated to legally, illegally, unlawfully and illegitimately acquiring companies - methods known as "Raiders" and commonly used by Eurasian criminal networks in the 1990s - have also been found.

How you can help - Donation for crime prevention in the Algarve

Each week Safe Communities Algarve provides advice and assistance to those who have contacted the association. No charge is made for this service. If you have benefited from this then why not make a small donation in return. 


Safe Communities Algarve is a non-profit association run by unpaid volunteers. Our services are free of charge and the association is funded by donations. Your generosity by making a donation to help maintain and further develop the work of the association and thereby help keep the Algarve a safe place to live and visit would be appreciated. Any amount helps.  

Three ways to make a donation


Paypal - If you would like to make a donation through Paypal please visit our Welcome page and click on the "donate" button. 

By cheque - If you wish to donate by cheque the bank account name is "Associacao SCP Safe Communities Portugal" and cheques can be posted to Caixa 207-Z, Alfontes, Boliqueime, 8100-062, Algarve.

By interbank transfer - If you wish to donate through inter bank transfer please use the same name with the following account details NIB 0033 0000 4542 9864 44705. 

All donations should be marked "Donation for crime prevention". Thank you.

Safe Communities Algarve - Regular Features
Just a reminder that in addition to our website and Facebook page, Safe Communities Algarve produces regular crime prevention features to help the community. These are  in the Algarve Resident where there is a full page feature in the first issue each month. The next feature will be out on 7th July 2016 concerning forest fire protection.

We also have a 5 minute feature named "Crimecheck" on Owen Gee's Solid Gold Sunday which is aired at 0920 hrs on the last Sunday of each month. The next one is scheduled for Sunday 31st July 2016.

How your friends can obtain up to date Crime Prevention advice
Please pass on details of Safe Communities Algarve to neighbours and friends so they to can benefit from the up to date crime prevention advice. Simply ask them to click on the following link to obtain the latest newsletter: www.safecommunitiesalgarve.com This is a free service.



David Thomas

Safe Communities Algarve



30 June 2016