Reuters International

MADRID (Reuters) - Eleven people of primarily Ukrainian and Russian origin were arrested on Tuesday in Barcelona accused of connections with organised crime and money laundering, the Spanish anti-corruption prosecutor's office said.

The investigation found instances of organised crime, money laundering, forgery of official documents and tax avoidance, the prosecutor said in a statement.

The arrests were the second large case involving alleged activity by Russian criminal syndicates since May, when Spanish authorities issued warrants for 12 Russians, including senior officials, said to be operating out of the country.

Those arrested on Tuesday used capital from companies, mostly based in Cyprus or the British Virgin Islands, to acquire, or form, Spanish companies which were used to buy Spanish property, the statement said.

The prosecutor's office said it had discovered more than 10 million euros ($11 million) of laundered money which had been invested in Spanish property.

Spanish authorities also authorised 16 search warrants, blocked numerous bank accounts and seized property associated with the organisation, including a luxury Japanese restaurant in Barcelona, the prosecutor said.

(Reporting by Catherine Bennett; Editing by Paul Day and Janet Lawrence)

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