MAGADAN, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has broken up a smuggling operation which funneled industrial gold from Russia's far east to criminal groups in the North Caucasus, an FSB source in the Magadan Region told RIA Novosti on Friday.
Members of the group, who transported illegally-mined gold or took it from production facilities in the Kolyma district, have been arrested, the FSB said, but did not clarify when it had happened.
"A resident of Magadan Region was also arrested in Kazan. He had 17 kilos of gold mined in Kolyma, which was also to be sent on to the Caucasus," the FSB said.
The operation was set up by criminals who were involved in illegal banking activity, money-laundering, tax fraud and embezzlement, which the FSB suspect may have defrauded the state of up to a billion rubles ($33 million).