LAW
Greece's VIP inmate - What profit does the Georgian mafia try to make from the Greek crisis?
24 July, 2015
Greece's VIP inmate - What profit does the Georgian mafia try to make from the Greek crisis?
Georgian organized crime is once again a topic of foreign media attention. Before the referendum in Greece took place, the Italian media declared that the Georgian mafia was making the most of the situation in Greece by using the authorities’ corruption to try and purchase the country’s seaports. This is allegedly being done in order to gain control over cocaine trafficking in Europe.

The Spanish media accused Greek police of helping Shushanashvili flee the police raid for a hefty bribe of 800,000 EUR. In turn, the Greek law enforcement accused their Spanish colleagues of doing the same.


Talk of Georgian organized crime in Greece began in 2005, when Georgian criminal groups appeared in Greek cities, robbing flats, stealing cars and forging documents. The city of Thessaloniki very quickly ended up becoming the headquarters of the Georgian underworld, with even representatives of the fairer sex involved in criminal activity. geotv.ge
In 2009, Europe started large-scale operations in several countries in order to curb the ‘Georgian mafia.’ Western and Central Europe was no longer safe for Georgian crime lords (thieves-in-law) and they started to seek shelter in Greece. Lasha Shushanashvili, one of the bosses of the Georgian mafia, was among them. By that time, Georgian criminal groups already controlled the turnover of goods between Greece and Georgia as well as sea and land transportation routes, fur shops, resort restaurants and entertainment centers. Georgian organized crime even managed to oust the Albanian mafia from the market.

Talk of Georgian organized crime in Greece began in 2005, when Georgian criminal groups appeared in Greek cities, robbing flats, stealing cars and forging documents. The city of Thessaloniki very quickly ended up becoming the headquarters of the Georgian underworld, with representatives of the fairer sex even involved in criminal activity.

This was when foreign media began talking about an alleged corruption deal between the Georgian mafia and the Greek law enforcement. The Spanish Prosecutor’s Office even claimed that corrupt Greek police tried to hinder the arrest of Lasha Shushanashvili. In 2010, the Spanish police finally convinced its Greek counterparts to agree to carrying out a joint operation, but they failed to detain Shushanashvili because the mafia boss was not present in the indicated Salonika hotel. Soon afterwards, the Spanish media accused Greek police of helping Shushanashvili flee the police raid for a hefty bribe of 800,000 EUR. In turn, the
Greek law enforcement accused their Spanish colleagues of doing the same.

The Georgian criminal world of Greece, Turkey, Georgia, the post-Soviet space, Germany and France is ruled from a single Greek prison.

In the meantime, drug trafficking became the main target for Georgian mafia. At first they tried to find a niche in the so called Balkan route of Turkey, but this drug corridor, which annually brings a profit of 3 billion USD, has been controlled by Kurdistan Workers’ Party for years. Therefore, the attempt of the Georgian crime lords to get a share of the European side of the “Balkan route” in Kosovo yielded no results.
Since Afghan heroin turned out to be inaccessible for the Georgian mafia, they shifted their attention to the cocaine market and started looking for people to forge connections with. It is noteworthy that by that time, a “new generation” of Georgian drug dealers was already dealing Columbian drugs both in the U.S. and Greek ports, paying huge bribes to the authorities and the police to keep their mouths shut and hands tied.
But in 2012, the Greeks arrested Shu­shanashvili anyway, sentencing him to 12 years of imprisonment. It’s interesting that Shushanashvili banned usage of drugs in Greek prisons, thus blocking the source of income to Albanians who freely sold heroin in there. Soon the clan members of the Georgian kingpin, many formidable crime lords themselves, headed to Greece to facilitate release of the boss. They haven’t been successful so far, but it is an open secret that at the moment, the Georgian criminal world of Greece, Turkey, Georgia, post-Soviet space, Germany and France is ruled from a single Greek prison.
On January 4th of 2013 there was a big scandal in Greece after a police raid on a large drug gang revealed that aside from Albanians, who represented a majority, it also counted a number of Greek policemen among its members. A Georgian trace could be seen in the scandal, but after some palms were quickly greased, everyone conveniently forgot about this detail.
Today only the Georgian mafia has big money in Greece, and they are ready to pay any sum for their boss’s freedom. The most well connected inmate in Greece is currently awaiting the authorities’ decision.

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