MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators are probing an illegal casino business in the Volga region city of Kazan thought to have made about 32 million rubles ($1.06 million) from gambling, the Investigative Committee reported on Monday.
“According to our investigation, in August 2012 [Emil] Minigulov rented premises in a building in Amirkhan Street in the city of Kazan where he installed gambling equipment, and also hired staff,” the committee said in a statement.
“Investigators believe Minigulov has earned about 32 million rubles from the operation of the gambling salon.”
Investigators have opened a criminal case against Minigulov on charges of organizing an illegal gambling business and earning large profits from illegal activities. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.
Illegal casinos have mushroomed across Russia since a law came into force in July 2009 banning gambling everywhere except four designated remote zones: in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, south Siberia's Altai Territory, Primorye in the Far East and in southern Russia near the Sea of Azov.
In a crackdown in early 2011, a number of officials, including Moscow Region Prosecutor Alexander Mokhov and Deputy Prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko were suspended after police found evidence that they protected an illegal gambling ring in return for a cut of the profits.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.