Tagesspiegel: Armenian mafia comes to action in Germany

Tagesspiegel: Armenian mafia comes to action in Germany

The Federal Government confirms the activity of the Armenian crime groups operating in Germany. Because of their conspiratorial and gangster activities, they are classified as organized crime. This follows the response of the Federal Government to the corresponding request of the Left Party to the Bundestag, the daily Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel writes in the article Armenische Mafia in Deutschland aktiv - 42 Verdächtige.

Thus, the German government confirms the joint investigation of Spiegel and the public television channel MDR conducted in 2018, noting that thieves in law are apt to operate throughout the country. According to the government, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the criminal police departments of six states (LKA) are conducting 14 investigations against 42 people. Until now, it was believed that the state of Thuringia was the main stronghold of the Armenian mafia.

The government’s response was made at the politically inappropriate time because, on Friday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with the German Chancellor and President of the Federal Republic of Germany in Berlin to request help for the development of "a small country surrounded by hostile states."

The federal investigation was entitled Fatil - "Fight against thieves in law." Armenian members of an organized criminal group are suspected by the police of money laundering, violence, fraud and crimes against property. So far, only one person has been prosecuted. And just a few days ago, the arrest warrant for the alleged drug dealers of Armenian origin in Thuringia was canceled.

Unclear role of the Armenian Embassy in Germany

In November 2018, Spiegel reported about the networks of the Armenian mafia. Investigators also warned against cooperation with the Armenian ambassador in Berlin. The embassy obtained a prohibition against broadcasting the MDR documentary. The Federal Government then wrote in its response to the request of the Left Party that the diplomat was not ”a suspect in the preliminary investigations conducted by the investigative team”, adding that ”the Ambassador of Armenia ... was a guest at the Federal Ministry of the Interior on December 19th, 2017. The meeting was held at the request of the Ambassador of Armenia. The Federal Government has no information regarding the content of the conversation." Experts believe that the ambassador wanted to protect himself from the charges in the midst of an investigation - and that is his right. The then Minister of the Interior was Thomas de Mezieres (CDU).

At that time, the Federal Criminal Police Office was also investigating the activities of the organized crime group dominated by Armenians in Berlin, where the Armenian Embassy is located, the Berlin police reported at the request of Tagesspiegel. There are signs that the staff of the Armenian embassy could have been involved in the grouping in the police response: "In this context, it should be noted that not every member of the Armenian embassy has diplomatic status and therefore cannot be identified as such, if this fact is not clear to the investigating authorities."

In the final report of the Fatil project, the Federal Criminal Police Office states that the Armenian mafia "does exist," has "financial resources" and can "pose a threat to the rule of law." The investigation began in 2014 after a shootout between two criminal clans in front of a gambling house in Erfurt. According to the MDR, officials also identified contacts between Armenians and Italian mafia bosses.

Intelligence warned the government in 2008

Since 2008, the German government has been aware of the mafia structures from the Caucasus operating in Germany: ”In 2008, the Federal Government was informed about a letter from the Federal Intelligence Service to the Federal Criminal Police Office on this matter.” Security experts confirm that the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) regularly sends warnings from the Caucasus countries, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Bundestag deputies were not able to find out what information was provided by the intelligence services: ”This information can  influence the welfare of the state and, therefore, cannot be disclosed even in the secret mode."

The secret mode in the Bundestag refers to the documents that only certain authorized persons can review. However, in case of the Armenian mafia, even such a classification of information and its transfer to the confidential bodies of the Bundestag is not safe enough due to the explosive nature of the requested information and the importance of the intelligence agencies work. "Obviously, the government does not want authorized deputies to see the intelligence documents. The security experts assess it as follows: the intelligence sources will be exposed - and given the situation in the Caucasus countries, this may be dangerous for their lives.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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