Police have smashed an international arms gang based in Ibiza and headed by a Polish billionaire who claimed to be a diplomat from Guinea Bissau.
The ex-military man had a plaque put up outside his house on the island to say he enjoyed diplomatic immunity and even used the Gambian presidential plane to send military weapons to South Sudan.
A police officer is said to be one of nine men arrested during raids in connection with the illegal sale of more than 200,000 Kalashnikov AK-47s assault rifles, rocket launchers and military tanks.
The billionaire ring leader was using an international network of companies and contacts to extort and receive payments for alleged arms trafficking, even using the presidential plane in Gambia to sell weapons to this country,’ said a spokesman for the Spanish police.
The gang was said to be violent, using threats and intimidation to collect debts.
The plot, which echoes that of the popular TV series ‘The Night Manager’, was uncovered with the help of Europol and involved raids in Germany and Switzerland.
In the BBC drama, Tom Hiddleston plays the role of Jonathan Pine, who sets out to snare arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper, played by Hugh Laurie.
Police said the Polish billionaire had links with bogus companies across Europe for money-laundering and tax evasion, including in the UK, Belgium and France.
The gang also had links with a Dutch criminal ring which helped to collect debts.
‘On one occasion, they were sent to Marbella to collect four million euros,’ said the police spokesman.
The ringleader lived in luxury in Ibiza, with a magnificent villa paid for with funds from the illegal sale of arms, a fleet of top-end cars which were always changing and an army of bodyguards. He was also obsessed with security and had turned his home into a fortress with sophisticated systems to prevent anyone from breaking in.
He claimed he was involved in diplomatic work for Guinea Bissau, specifically as an economic adviser, but his passport had actually expired.
He had a wide range of international contacts and was able to use the presidential plane to fly from Poland to Gambia to conduct arms deals.
Source: Daily Mail