Saturday, July 25, 2009

U.S. Researcher Arrested in Russia for Investigating Organized Crime

A police official researching organized crime in Russia for a U.S. university was arrested after obtaining information on high-level corruption, colleagues say.

Col. Alexander Astafyev, 50, was studying the criminal takeover of businesses in Russia for Virginia's George Mason University when he was taken into custody, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

Colleagues say Astafyev was arrested after obtaining evidence incriminating influential figures in both Moscow and Vladivostok. "If such a person will be imprisoned now, that means corruption has totally won in Russia," says Maria Solovienko, the editor of an independent newspaper in Vladivostok.

Astafyev visited Washington last year at the invitation of the U.S. State Department and worked closely with FBI agents investigating organized crime.

He was working on a paper about the criminal takeover of businesses with the help of corrupt officials, police or judges.

Thanks to UPI

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