Europol supports Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office in dismantling Chechen organised crime network

07 April 2016
Press Release
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The Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office (BK) arrested seven suspects in Vienna and Hohenems (Federal State of Vorarlberg). This organised crime group, composed mainly of Chechen nationals,  was involved in a number of criminal activities, including extortion, arms trafficking and illegal gambling.
 
In the early morning of 22 March, the criminal network was disrupted in a synchronised operation, supported by the Austrian special forces Cobra, the State Criminal Police Offices of Vienna and Voralberg, as well as Europol. Among the accused were three Chechen nationals, two Croatian citizens, a Serbian citizen and an Austrian citizen of Bosnian descent.
 
For the first time, connections in terms of hierarchy and division of labour between the Chechen, Balkan and Austrian organised crime groups were made. Chechen organised crime groups are trying to establish and maintain their hold on Austria and are known for their brutality.
 
Thanks to dedicated expertise on Eastern European criminal syndicates, Europol has been able to support this case from the outset and has provided significant support to the Austrian authorities. Chechen organised crime groups as well as others originating from the southern Caucasus are in fact actively engaged in a vast array of criminal offences and require a specific approach taking into account the exceptional capacity of these groups to operate transnationally. 
 
On the action day Austrian law enforcement authorities were able to carry out this operation side by side with a Europol Specialist deployed on the field, who has enabled them to remotely connect to Europol systems, effectively eliminating the geographical barriers between them and the wider European Law Enforcement community.