Belarusian detained in Russia over $1-bln smuggling scheme

MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian police said Wednesday officers had detained a Belarusian national wanted for his part in an international smuggling ring that allegedly inflicted overall material damages of $1 billion.

Law enforcement officers said Yury Kreidich was suspected of being a member of a criminal group, forging documents and other offenses.

"According to information provided by Belarusian law enforcement agencies, Belarusian national Yury Kreidich, born in 1976, was involved in a criminal group that smuggled cargoes from Poland to Belarus and further to Russia for six years," the Russian Interior Ministry's organized crime department said.

The department's press service said Kreidich was responsible for allowing road trains to pass through customs posts without the appropriate checks. Belarusian authorities also said customs officials could be involved in the smuggling scheme.

"Computers, plasma television sets, video and audio equipment were brought into Russia from western Europe via Poland under the guise of construction materials," the press service said. "Drivers in Poland were given forged documents."

The department said Kreidich had escaped to Russia after criminal proceedings were launched. He lived in Moscow and owned a firm trading in Belarusian goods. Kreidich is in custody awaiting a decision on his extradition.

Another person suspected of being involved in the gang is also reported to have been arrested in Poland.