Traders in precious metals in Lithuania are suspected of illicit million-worth asset legalization as over 1 million euros has been seized during an investigation on Wednesday but the scope of illegal activity is believed to have reached 10 million euros.
Metal traders suspected of illicit million-worth asset legalization

"Coordinated measures have been taken in Germany and Lithuania and (…) officers have seized 1.03 million euros in cash," Darius Valkavicius, a chief prosecutor at regional prosecutor's office in Kaunas, Lithuania's second-largest city, told a press conference in Kaunas on Thursday.

The investigation is being carried out in cooperation with German law enforcement on a wider scope of illegal activity.

"We can speak about 10 million euros in Lithuania. But the value of certain illegal activity is said to be standing at around 200 million euros in Germany," Marius Venskunas, a prosecutor from the organized crime and corruption department, said.

Three residents of Vilnius County have been detained as part of this case, with one of them considered to be the activity organizer and the other two were cash couriers. "The suspects used to work as couriers brining large sums of money to Lithuania from Germany and Poland," Rolandas Urbonas, head of the Financial Crime Investigation Service's Kaunas regional branch, said, adding that money used to be stashed in hidden compartments in cars.

Searches have also been carried out at one business involved in the purchase and recycle of electronic waste and catalyst powder, and over 3 tons of scrap was seized from it.

The prosecutor says the suspects would bring in electronic goods and cars' catalytic converters from Ukraine, recycle them and further take them to Germany and the Czech Republic to sell metals.

"We suspect that not all revenue from this trade is shown and it is cashed through a scheme known to us and arrive into the suspect's hands in cash already," Venskunas said.

21 searches were carried out in Vilnius, Kaunas and Alytus on Wednesday as part of this investigation, and a large-scale operation was also carried out in Germany where 27 people were detained and over 60 searches were carried out.

The investigation will further look into how the money was used, adding that the money could have probably been used to invest into real estate in Lithuania and abroad.

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